MTN to sell its stake in BICS to Belgium’s Proximus


South Africa’s MTN Group said on Tuesday it will sell its 20% shareholding in Belgacom International Carrier Services SA (BICS) to Belgian state-controlled telecoms firm Proximus for R1.8 billion ($121.41 million).

MTN is in the midst of a R25 billion divestment plan aimed at reducing debt, simplifying its portfolio and improving returns over the next three to five years.

Proximus is the majority owner of BICS, whose equipment handles global calls, text and internet traffic across the world. Another minority owner, Swisscom is also selling its 22.4% stake in BICS to Proximus it said on Tuesday.

MTN said it intends to use the proceeds to pay down US dollar debt and for general corporate purposes. At September 30, group net debt was R60.6 billion.

MTN will record a profit on the disposal of around R1.2 billion during the first half of 2021, it added.