MTN confirms sale of Botswana business unit

It will sell its shareholding in Mascom to Econet Wireless for $300 million.

Telecommunications company MTN plans to sell its 53 percent shareholding in Botswana’s Mascom Wireless to Econet Wireless, the company confirmed on Thursday.

MTN said it identified Mascom as non-core to its operations after the company embarked on a review of its investment portfolio.  MTN’s shareholding didn’t giving it control of Mascom and the power to execute strategy, paving the way for the company to sell its shareholding. 

MTN’s Botswana business is also one of only three country units that MTN operates as a joint venture, alongside Iran and Eswatini. MTN bought a 44 percent stake in Mascom in 2005 and co-owns the carrier with local investors.

Econet Wireless will purchase MTN’s shareholding in Mascom for $300 million representing an EBITDA multiple of approximately 6.1 times.

The transaction is subject to various approvals and is anticipated to be concluded by June 2019.

A year ago, MTN CEO Rob Shuter begun a review of MTN’s markets— 22 at the time — but the company has only completed the sale of its Cyprus operation to date.

MTN made the announcement when it released its results for the year-ended December 2018, showing a 6 percent increase in its revenue to R134.56 billion. Its operating profit climbed to R23.6 billion during the reporting period, from R20.6 billion before.