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CBN, MTN in talks over $600m debt repayment

By on August 7, 2015

MTN Group Limited is in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria about the early repayment of almost $600m of debt to reduce exposure to the naira, which has weakened against the rand this year.

“We have been negotiating with the lenders but the challenge has been getting the central bank to approve that we can accelerate the payment,” the Chief Executive Officer, MTN, Sifiso Dabengwa, said in an interview on Wednesday.

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

Bloomberg reports that MTN, Africa’s largest wireless carrier with operations in 22 countries, said its profit declined by 11 per cent in the six months through June in part because of weakening African currencies against the South African rand, in which it reports earnings.

The Johannesburg-based company said Nigerian sales decreased by nine per cent in the period, compared with a 1.1 per cent fall on a constant currencies basis.

MTN executives had met with President Muhammadu Buhari, Dabengwa said at a presentation to analysts and reporters earlier on Wednesday.

“The conversations were positive,” he said, and the company has no pending regulatory issues in Nigeria, its biggest market with 62.8 million subscribers.

MTN shares fell 0.3 per cent to 207.83 rand in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 384 billion rand.