MTN Group could sell and lease back as much as 50% of its towers in its home market of South Africa.
The domestic unit of MTN has around 13,000 towers in the market, of which it considers half “feasible for a sale.” The group is currently reviewing its operations and strategy “to unlock shareholder value”, with a particular emphasis on reducing its debt, which totalled ZAR60.6 billion ($4 billion) in Q3.
The group is currently seeking advisors for the tower sale and lease plan, having executed similar strategies in many of its major markets. It has reached leaseback deals with American Tower in Ghana and Uganda, and with IHS Towers in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Zambia.
MTN described its debt management strategy as “prudent” and “focused on cash preservation” in its last earnings call. In the medium-term, the group is seeking to cut “exposure to US dollar debt and improve the funding mix.”