MTN still open to a big deal and if not, improved cash flows, says CEO


Phuthuma Nhleko, group president and CEO of MTN, has not completely given up on the idea of concluding another big acquisition. “Though we realise there are far fewer opportunities out there, we cannot afford to be inactive because the terrain is changing all the time,” Nhleko told analysts at the group’s interim results presentation in Johannesburg on Thursday. “We will continue to look for opportunities,” he said.

However, he said if another deal wasn’t concluded, shareholders could expect to benefit from improved cash flows. MTN has held several discussions with other operators in recent years. However, talks with Egypt’s Orascom, and with India’s Reliance Communications and Bharti Airtel, hadn’t resulted in corporate action.

The group on Wednesday declared a maiden interim dividend of R1.51/share. In the past, MTN has only declared dividends on an annual basis. “That is the formula and unless something absolutely radical happens, that’s what we intend to do,” Nhleko said.

He said MTN is benefiting from big investments in network infrastructure in its major territories in recent years. “The bulk of growth has been organic, notwithstanding some [mergers and acquisitions] we have undertaken,” Nhleko say