South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company, MTN has managed to extract several million dollars from Iran with the help of European banks. The money was the frozen cash from the 49% owned venture MTN Irancell.
MTN has been doing great since 2005 when they entered Iran by launching the second Iranian mobile network operator, Irancell which MTN owns 49% of it. Since then, MTN Irancell shook the mobile network operator game by bringing a new format of marketing and services in the country which hasn’t been done before. Soon Irancell became the leader in terms of new and reliable services which people craved deeply. But this wasn’t the end of the story. Because of the U.S. sanctions, MTN couldn’t extract their money in the past five years so they started showing interest in other projects in Iran such as Iran national fiber internet project as well as investing (22 million dollars) in Iranian startups with Rocket Internet.
The frozen cash includes a $430 million loan repayment from MTN Irancell services and dividends accumulated in Iran over five years. This money would help MTN to revamp its top management and the first step to normalization of its business in Iran according to Bloomberg. With Donald Trump taking the presidency seat, it’s probable that MTN encounters serious problems soon, as the U.S. might not let the European banks to work with Iran. It’s no surprise that MTN is doing its best to transfer the money before the new U.S. government gets settled. The money transfer started in October with the help of unnamed banks assisting MTN Irancell in moving the funds.
We mentioned in our previous articles that Iran is one of the most significant markets for MTN. To back that theory, it’s enough to say that with this money transfer, MTN’s share rose as much as 1.6% and were up 1.2% at 124.2 Rand a few days ago in Johannesburg. We should note that this money will also help MTN to pay the fine (one billion dollars) to the Nigerian government this year for missing a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered customers.