MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita has said that the company values its mobile money (MoMo) unit, including Ghana, at between US$5 billion and $6 billion as it prepares to separate the unit from its other operations via a sale or list of a minority stake.
He made the statement in an interview with UK-based Financial Times Newspaper, outlining the basic details about the future of its MoMo unit, which part of units being separated as a strategy to cash in on a number of assets.
In March this year, the African telecoms giant unveiled plans to cash-in on its infrastructure assets and financial services platforms after separating the divisions from the rest of the business, as it continues efforts to restructure its operations and cut debt.
In its Q4 results statement, MTN Group provided outline details of its Ambition 2025 project, which is the result of a strategic review into the company and follows moves during 2020 to sell various non-core assets and platforms such as mobile money.
Mupita said then that “As part of this strategic repositioning, we are looking to structurally separate our infrastructure assets and platforms, such as fintech, to reveal value and attract third-party capital and partnerships into these businesses, over the medium-term.”
He told FT MTN planned to structurally separate the business within the next year.
Funds raised from its money and infrastructure assets will go towards further cuts in MTN’s debt pile, adding to disposals of a number of parts of the business deemed non-core in the last two years.
MTN is also in the process of selling-up in the Middle East as it plans to focus its efforts on Africa.
The operator is not alone in seeking to raise money on the strength of its mobile financial services business, with regional rival Airtel Africa selling two separate stakes in its equivalent to investment company TPG and Mastercard earlier this year.
In Ghana MTN MobileMoney Limited is also being separated gradually with the appointment of a substantive CEO, Eli Hini, who had headed the unit from the onset.
MTN MobileMoney Limited in Ghana is also required by regulatory conditions in Ghana to offload at least 30% shares in that unit to Ghanaians before it will get operational approval.
Currently, the company is yet to meet that requirement, because of which it is absent from the list of MoMo operators with regulatory approval, even though it still operates.
MTN MobileMoney Limited is by far the runaway market leader in Ghana in terms of market share as well as volume and value of transaction. Government recently estimated their market share at 75%.
Eli Hini told TechGh24 that, as far as selling the unit is concerned, the Ghana unit is currently focused on offloading the regulatory 30% for now, and no steps are being taken to offload any extra shares yet.
Meanwhile, some industry watchers believe MTN is offloading various non-core assets as part of a strategy to avoid being named a significant market power (SMP) across its operations in Africa. MTN Ghana has already been named SMP.