MTN negotiating early repayment of $600mn debt with CBN

05 Aug 2015
Financial Nigeria

Summary

The early repayment is an effort by MTN to reduce its exposure to currency risk, as the naira has been weakening against the dollar since last November.

MTN Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Dabengwa



MTN Group Ltd. is in talks with Central Bank of Nigeria on early repayment of the $600 million debt it owes Nigerian banks.

The early repayment is an effort by MTN to reduce its exposure to currency risk, as the naira has been weakening against the dollar since last November.

MTN Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Dabengwa said in an interview today that: “We have already been negotiating with the lenders but the challenge has been getting the central bank to approve that we can accelerate the payment.”

He add that: “It would help a lot in terms of dealing with the currency fluctuations.”

Nigeria is the biggest market for the South Africa mobile telecommunication giant, who operates in 22 countries. Its half year 2015 profit declined 11 percent, in part because of weakening African currencies against the South African rand, in which it reports earnings.

The Johannesburg-based company said Nigerian sales decreased 9 percent in the period, compared with a 1.1 percent fall on a constant currencies basis.

MTN executives have met with President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Dabengwa said at a presentation to analysts and reporters earlier today. “The conversations were positive,” he said, adding that the company has no pending regulatory issues in Nigeria, its biggest market with 62.8 million subscribers.


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