South African operator MTN has accepted an offer to sell its Guinea operations to Telecel.

The operator wants to withdraw from smaller markets to invest in digital platforms and fintech offerings. The specific financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

MTN Group
– Getty Images

However, MTN estimates that the sale will generate between ZAR7 billion ($369 million) and ZAR 8 billion ($422 million) in expense efficiencies over the next three years.

MTN said: “Telecel is well positioned to drive the growth and further development of these operations and contribute to technological and economic progress in these markets.”

The company says the sale is part of its portfolio optimization strategy, following exits from Yemen, Syria, and most recently, Afghanistan.

An exit from Guinea was suspected when reports in December signaled that MTN’s headquarters had been closed by the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPT), because of unpaid taxes and fees. The company’s end-of-year financial report also suggested a deal had been struck with Telecel, subject to terms and conditions.

MTN is the second largest telco in Guinea with around 24 percent market share, behind Orange with 69 percent. However, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry contribute to less than 1.6 percent of the MTN’s revenue.

In 2023, MTN was victim to the devaluation of the Nigerian naira, which almost wiped out the company’s profits.

Telecel, founded in 1986, is an African-focused telecommunications provider that operates across much of the continent, including South Africa, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya, and Senegal.

Telecel recently acquired Vodafone’s majority stake in the Ghanaian market.