MTN Group Ltd is considering the sale of its stake in Botswana’s largest wireless carrier, according to people familiar with the matter, as chief executive officer Rob Shuter seeks to reduce the number of countries in which the company operates.
A disposal of the interest in Botswana’s Mascom could generate as much as R2.5 billion ($175 million), said the people, who asked not to be identified because the sale process is ongoing and nothing has been publicly disclosed.
While Shuter initiated a review of MTN’s then-22 markets a year ago, the Johannesburg-based company has to date only completed the sale of its Cyprus operation.
MTN declined to comment.
Shuter is looking to sharpen MTN’s focus on growth areas and evaluate where it doesn’t necessarily need a presence. Some markets, such as South Sudan and Syria, have been ravaged by conflict, while others have been a burden due to local regulatory and government interventions.
Still more are tiny when compared to MTN’s largest markets. That includes Botswana, which had almost 1.7 million customers at the end of September, compared with MTN’s 225 million subscribers across Africa and the Middle East.