Fri, 14 May 2021

MTN says it plans to appeal a decision by the Syrian authorities to place its business under judicial guardianship, in the latest administrative tussle to hit the continent's largest mobile company.

The company did not state the nature of the dispute it encountered with the Syrian authorities, only stating that the decision was taken following a lawsuit by the Syrian Ministry of Telecommunications and the Syrian Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority.

The company was then placed under judicial guardianship following a court ruling on February 25.

"MTN Group strongly disagrees with the allegations made before the court, as well as the court's decision, and intends to file an appeal," the company said in a statement on Friday.

In August last year, MTN revealed that it was in talks to sell off its 75% take in MTN Syria, to minority shareholder TeleInvest, which currently has a 25% stake.

The Syrian business contributed 0.7% to MTN's earnings in the six months to June 2020, while net assets attributable to MTN Syria had been written down to the estimated recoverable amount of R1.4 billion.

Despite the challenges faced in the strife-torn country, the company maintained that MTN Syria remained a going concern.

Rob Shuter, then group CEO of MTN, had said that exiting Syria, which is part of the company's plan to vacate the Middle East to focus on African markets, would be conducted in an "orderly manner".

With operations in 21 countries, MTN has been slapped with hefty fine in Nigeria, its biggest market, over registration of users' SIM cards.

Source: News24

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