KAMPALA – Telecom giants MTN Group Ltd has embarked on a process of selling its shares in the management of cell sites in Uganda and Ghana, from which telecoms hire network towers.
The move is aimed at helping the company recoup some funds held in such assets so that it invests them in network expansion and offering other services.
According to Bloomberg news, the South African telecom giant is currently holding talks with American Tower Corp (ATC), its joint partner in the ownership of the towers, so that it can cede its stake.
ATC acquired Eaton Towers Ltd in May, according to details from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). Eaton had initially acquired 400 towers from Warid Telecom in 2012. At the time, MTN and ATC created a joint venture firm, ATC Uganda in 2011, which acquired all MTN towers.
MTN holds a 49 percent stake in ATC, which currently controls about 1,400 towers in Uganda. The sale of the tower assets in both Ghana and Uganda could generate MTN about $530 million.
According to Bloomberg news, MTN has been exploring asset sales while focusing on key markets such as Nigeria. Revenue in the company’s biggest market advanced 12% in the third quarter, while the earnings margin was 54%, according to a statement on Thursday. That’s even as a $2 billion tax dispute looks set to drag on into next year.