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Africa’s MTN exits towers businesses in Ghana and Uganda

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – MTN Group <MTNJ.J> has agreed to sell its towers businesses in Ghana and Uganda as Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator refocuses on high-growth markets on the continent and in the Middle East.

Clashes with regulators in Nigeria, Uganda and elsewhere have crimped growth, prompting the company to announce a $1 billion three-year asset-disposal plan earlier this year.

MTN said it had agreed to sell its 49% holdings in Ghana Tower Interco B.V. and Uganda Tower Interco B.V. to AT Sher Netherlands Coöperatief U.A. for $523 million.

The sale is expected to close in Q1 2020 leaving MTN with a profit of 6 billion rand ($425.74 million).

The company also said it had finalized the redemption of MTN Nigeria preference shares, raising $315 million.

MTN said it will use the proceeds to pay down its U.S. dollar-denominated debt and for general corporate purposes.

“We remain focused on continuing to execute on the important strategic priorities of reducing debt, simplifying the portfolio and reducing risk,” the firm said in a statement.

The company is aiming to shed loss-making e-commerce assets and exit countries where it has no prospect of reaching the top-two spots in terms of market share.

($1 = 14.0931 rand)

(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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