HomeFinancial/RegulationMTN Group asset sale could list Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry

    MTN Group asset sale could list Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry


    CEO Mupita may want to focus on Asante

    MTN Group is in advanced talks with Axian Group to sell some of its West African markets, according to Bloomberg’s teams of insiders people familiar with the matter. The bigger question is: why is Africa’s largest mobile operator trims its portfolio. The companies are negotiating the prices for MTN’s assets in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry, said insiders who asked not to be named over the private leak. The deal has not been finalised, and there is no guarantee that a transaction will go ahead, they said.

    The three countries accounted for 1.6% of MTN’s revenue in 2022, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A representative for MTN declined to comment. A spokesperson for Mauritius-based Axian was unable to comment. It is known that MTN’s Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita (pictured) has been evaluating the company’s portfolio. The African mobile network operator has narrowed its horizons and may concentrate on core markets, with its biggest assets on the West African countries Nigeria and Ghana. MTN operates in 19 countries in the region. Mupita has made a conscious decision to leave territories with which he has no connection, such as certain Middle Eastern businesses in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.

    Africa’s young population has created a lively and exciting market for smartphones, West Afrca has proved to be an attractive place for companies targeting telecom deals. In 2022, Axian bought Millicom International Cellular’s Tanzanian operations. The firm’s telco unit has invested in towers, undersea cables, data centres and financial technology as well as a number of phone operators in countries such as Madagascar and Senegal. 

    South Africa’s Vodacom Group attracted interest from Emirates Telecommunications Group as its parent company, Vodafone Group weighs options for the business, people familiar with the matter said in December. Telecel Group, headed by French tycoon Hugues Mulliez, bought Vodafone’s operations in Ghana earlier this year.