MTN exits Yemen as it shifts focus on the African market

SOUTH AFRICA – MTN Group has announced the Group’s exit from our operation in Yemen in a transaction that furthers the delivery of our Ambition 2025 strategy and is in line with our intention – first announced in August 2020 – to exit the Middle East.

Effective 17 November 2021, MTN Group transferred our majority shareholding in MTN Yemen to Emerald International Investment LCC.

Emerald is a subsidiary of Zubair Investment Centre LLC, an affiliate of Zubair Corporation LLC, which is the minority shareholder in MTN Yemen.

“The decision to exit Yemen was driven by a need to simplify the portfolio and focus our limited resources on executing a pan-African strategy. We would like to thank the 719 employees of MTN Yemen for their commitment over the years, and the 4.7 million subscribers of MTN Yemen for their custom and trust in the brand. We wish Emerald well in the next phase of development of this business as they work with the team that served MTN well over the years,” said Ralph Mupita, President and Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group.

In August 2020, MTN Group announced plans to focus on our pan-African strategy and exit the Middle East over the medium term, thereby simplifying our portfolio and reducing risk.

“The decision to exit Yemen was driven by a need to simplify the portfolio and focus our limited resources on executing a pan-African strategy”

A focus on Africa was also led by increasing competition from its main rival Vodacom, the African unit of British telecom giant Vodafone which had been striking partnerships to expand aggressively in the continent and pushing into financial services.

Yemen, although it is geographically located in Africa, was part of the group’s Middle Eastern operations.

The company had exited its business in Syria in August 2021, saying operating in the country was “intolerable.”

In the first half of 2021, MTN Yemen contributed 0.3% to MTN Group EBITDA. MTN Group held 82.8% of the shares in MTN Yemen, whose operating license for its 2G network is due for renewal at the end of 2021.

MTN, with 278 million subscribers across 21 markets, has also been exiting its non-core assets including the tower business to unlock value for future investments in boosting its network capacity and services.

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