MTN MULLS NEW ACQUISITIONS ACROSS AFRICA USING FREE CASH

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

South African mobile phone company MTN will consider making acquisitions in the rest of the continent and would fund them using free cash, Chief Executive Phuthuma Nhleko told analysts on Wednesday.

"We continue to look at opportunities and, to the extent that we do find opportunities..., then we would like to muster some of the group’s free cash to pursue those opportunities," he said on a conference call on MTN’s quarterly trading.

Nhleko said there was a better chance MTN would pay a dividend compared to a year ago. "Obviously we are in a far stronger position to pay a dividend now than say a year ago," he said. "The board will be reviewing quite regularly now the issue of the dividend policy.

In Nigeria, billed as one of the company’s potentially strong growth areas, MTN still aims to reach its target of 1.8 million subscribers by the end of the year, despite hold ups because of bottlenecks in getting people on to pre-paid platforms and some billing issues, Managing Director for International Operations Lazarus Zim said.

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