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MTN in Talks with CBN on Repayment of $600m Bank Debt

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MTN Group is said to have commenced talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for early repayment of almost $600 million debt it owes some Nigerian banks.

The move by the leading telecoms operator was also aimed at reducing further exposure of the naira, which has weakened against the rand and United States dollar.

A report from Bloomberg, quoted the Chief Executive Officer of the group, Sifiso Dabengwa, as saying in an interview that the negotiation with the apex bank was for possible repayment in good time.

“We have already been negotiating with the lenders but the challenge has been getting the CBN to approve that we can accelerate the payment.

“It would help a lot in terms of dealing with the currency fluctuations,” said Dabengwa.

According to MTN, its profit declined by 11 per cent in the last six months, through June due to the weakening naira and other African currencies against the South African rand, in which it reports earnings.

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The report also showed that Nigerian sales decreased nine per cent in the period, compared with 1.1 per cent fall on constant currencies basis.

It was also gathered that the MTN executives had already met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dabengwa, who confirmed the meeting, informed that the conversations were positive, and that the company has no pending regulatory issues in Nigeria, its biggest market with 62.8 million subscribers.

The report further disclosed that MTN shares fell 0.3 per cent to 207.83 rand as of Wednesday, in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 384 billion rand.
Available statistics showed that MTN is the Africa’s largest wireless carrier with operations in 22 countries.

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