MTN Group projects 2020 earnings to double on the back of $1.67 billion divestment plan

South Africa’s largest mobile operator by subscribers – MTN Group – projects its 2020 earnings to almost double, powered by gains from the sale of Ghana and Uganda tower joint ventures.

MTN is in the middle of a $1.67 billion divestment plan aimed at simplifying its portfolio and reducing debt over the next three to five years.

The plan involves selling its 49% holdings in Ghana Tower Interco B.V. and Uganda Tower Interco B.V. to AT Sher Netherlands Cooperatief U.A. for $523 million in 2020.

Its earnings per share (EPS) may have increased by as much as 95% to 987 cents in the year ended Dec. 31 from 506 cents a year ago, the company said in a statement ahead of the release of its annual results on March 10.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS), the main profit gauge for South African firms, is seen rising as much as 70% to 796 cents from 468 cents in Dec 2019. It excludes certain one-off items.

MTN Group also announced it will sell its 20% shareholding in Belgacom International Carrier Services SA (BICS) to Belgian state-controlled telecoms firm Proximus for $121.41 million.

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