MTN has made it clear that it believes growth in Nigeria’s telecommunications market is far from over. The SA-based group’s largest subsidiary, MTN Nigeria, has raised more than R16bn to fund the expansion of its network in the populous West African nation.
MTN on Wednesday told shareholders that it has received fresh loan facilities to continue building its network in anticipation of strong subscriber growth. The company had 33m customers at the end of March.
The planned investment in new infrastructure comes on top of heavy investment already made in 2008 and 2009.
A consortium of 15 Nigerian banks is extending a facility of 250bn naira (R12,8bn) to the company. This amount was increased from 207bn naira after it was 151% subscribed.
Further funding of about $450m (R3,4bn) is being provided by two foreign banks.
MTN Nigeria CEO Ahmad Farroukh says the debt-raising exercise is the “largest ever naira-denominated syndication in the country” and follows the raising of a $2bn facility in 2007 – at the time the largest facility granted to a single country telecoms operator in Africa.
The operator provides network coverage to 83% of Nigeria’s land mass and to 84% of its population. Its microwave transmission backbone covers more than 10 500km and its fibre network about 8 000km. — Staff reporter, TechCentral