MTN sells its stake in BICS to Belgium’s Proximus for US$121m

SOUTH AFRICAMTN Group, South African multinational mobile telecom company, has disclosed that it will sell its 20% shareholding in telecommunications provider Belgacom International Carrier Services South Africa (BICS) to Belgian state-controlled telecoms firm Proximus for US$121.41 million.

MTN is in the middle of a US$1.68 billion divestment plan aimed at reducing debt, simplifying its portfolio, and improving returns over the next three to five years.

Proximus is the majority owner of BICS, whose equipment handles global calls, text, and internet traffic across the world.

Another minority owner, Swisscom is also selling its 22.4% stake in BICS to Proximus, the company has revealed.

MTN said it intends to use the proceeds to pay down US dollar debt and for general corporate purposes.

“The sale represents further progress in MTN’s stated asset realisation programme, which aims to reduce debt, simplify its portfolio, reduce risk, improve returns and unlock value”

As of September 30, 2022, the  group net debt was US$4.08 billion.

MTN will record a profit on the disposal of around US$80.8 million during the first half of 2021, the group added.

The company added that the transaction consideration compared to MTN’s market capitalisation results in a percentage below the categorisation threshold as prescribed in the listings requirements of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

According to MTN, BICS was classified as a non-current asset held for sale and this transaction has resulted in a remeasurement of its carrying value resulting in a reduction of US$26.7 million for the year ended 31, December 2020.

BICS is a telecommunications provider that provides wholesale carrier services to wireline and wireless operators and service providers globally.

It is a subsidiary of Proximus Group and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

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