Mobile operator MTN plans to exit the Middle East over the medium term and will focus on its operations in Africa, the group said in a report on its half-year earnings.
"As part of our ongoing portfolio review, we believe the group is best served to focus in the future on our pan-African strategy. We will therefore be exiting the Middle East in an orderly manner over the medium term," said CEO Rob Shuter.
The group is in talks to sell off its 75% take in MTN Syria, to minority shareholdler TeleInvest which currently has a 25% stake.
The report showed that Middle East assets contributed to less than 4% to group EBITDA in the first half of the year, with the war torn Syrian operations specifically contributing 0.7%.
During the period, MTN managed to grow revenue of 9.4% to R80 billion, with EBITDA growing 10.9% to R42 billion. Reported group headline earnings per share more than doubled to 430 cents. Profit after tax increaed 145% to R13.34 billion.
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The group also managed to complete the disposal of tower company investments in Ghana and Uganda, valued at R8.8 billion.
MTN did not declare an interim dividend, given the uncertain impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the operating environment, it said.
A final dividend will be considered, if the conditions warrant it.