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MTN Jumps As Earnings Rise On Sale Of Some Tower Assets

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By Our Reporter

MTN Group Ltd. said profit may have almost doubled last year after the sale of stakes in telecom-tower joint ventures in Ghana and Uganda boosted the bottom line. The stock gained as much as 10%, the most in three months.

Earnings per share may have increased by as much as 95% to 9.87 rand in 2020, Africa’s biggest wireless carrier by sales said in a statement on Friday. The Johannesburg-based company is scheduled to report more detailed results on March 10.

MTN has been selling assets to streamline the company and pay down debt, and has a target of raising 25 billion rand over the next three-to-five years. The carrier exited stakes in the Ghana and Uganda tower assets last year, and has also offloaded a minority interest in e-commerce group Jumia Technologies AG.

Next up may be the sale-and-leaseback of the company’s South African towers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The earnings gain takes into account impairments related to units in Syria and Yemen, which are also up for sale, as well as Liberia and Guinea-Bissau. Headline earnings per share, which exclude one-time items, are expected to have risen by as much as 70%.

MTN shares pared gains to trade 4.5% higher to 69.11 rand as of 2:31 p.m. in Johannesburg, or 16% in the year to date.

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