- MTN Group Ltd. has abandoned plans to repay early about $500 million of debt held in Nigeria, saying it can’t get hold of dollars in the African wireless carrier’s biggest market,.
“We had looked to do the early resettlement but currently we are not able to,” Nik Kershaw, head of investor relations, said by phone on Monday. “In Nigeria there is limited availability of the hard currency.”
- MTN, which has more than 230 million mobile-phone customers in 22 countries, said August 5 it was in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about the early repayment of borrowings to reduce exposure to the naira, which has weakened against the U.S. dollar this year. The Johannesburg-based company sees the naira deteriorating further, Kershaw said.
- Declines in emerging market currencies against the dollar, including the South African rand, will hurt the business, Kershaw said. The cost of importing handsets into South Africa could rise, for example, with the difference to be passed onto the consumer.
“If the handset pricing goes up because the currency weakens, it’s going to cost the consumer more,” Kershaw said.