African telecoms MTN is considering exiting three African markets.
During its quarterly update call, CEO Ralph Mupita told journalists that the telecoms is engaged in discussions about the potential “orderly exit” of its operations in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry.
While the telecom has yet to reveal why it’s leaving these African markets, its financial reports show that it’s facing numerous challenges across the West and Central Africa region.
Mupita pointed to signs of inflation and currency devaluation across several markets.
Small markets, small shares: Per Bloomberg, these three countries also aren’t heavy hitters for the telecoms, contributing a scant 1.6% to MTN’s revenue in 2022.
Across these countries, the telecom controls a secondary chunk of the market share, about 30% in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry, beaten out by Orange Mobile which controls over 60% of the market share in both countries.
In Liberia, Lonestar MTN is the second-largest telecom in the country, with Orange Liberia controlling over 50% of the Liberian telecoms market.
It’s also not the first time the telecom has hinted at exiting these countries. In May 2023, it was reportedly in talks with Axian Group Limited to sell its assets in these countries.
Exiting Afghanistan: The telecom is also nearing a close for its exit from the Middle East.
In 2020, MTN announced its plan to exit the Middle East, focusing on Africa to simplify its structure and reduce risk exposure.
This decision was driven by increased complexity due to US sanctions on Iran and growing troubles in Afghanistan.
Later, MTN sold its Yemen business and stopped operations in Syria and Afghanistan.
In August 2022, the company received a $35 million offer for its Afghanistan business and recently confirmed the sale to M1 New Ventures.
The group, yesterday, announced that its Afghanistan exit will be complete within two months.