South African Telecoms Giant MTN To Pull Out Of Mideast

Bayelsa NSCDC Uncovers Plot To Attack MTN

 

Africa’s largest mobile operator, South African telecoms giant MTN, announced Thursday it would pull out of the Middle East to concentrate on Africa and scrap its interim dividend under a blueprint to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

“MTN has resolved to simplify its portfolio and focus on its pan-African strategy and will, therefore, be exiting its Middle Eastern assets in an orderly manner over the medium-term,” the group’s president and CEO, Rob Shuter, said in a first-half results statement

“As a first step, we are in advanced discussions to sell our 75% stake in MTN Syria.”

The company which was founded in 1994, lists operations in Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Iran in its Middle East file, which also includes Afghanistan.

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The statement said that in the January to June period, MTN’s subscriber base rose by 10.6 million to 251.5 million compared to end-2019.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (ebitda) rose 10.9 percent to 41.8 billion rand ($2.38 billion, 2.01 billion euros).

“MTN delivered strong results for the period against the backdrop of difficult trading conditions, exacerbated by the unprecedented socio and macroeconomic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shuter said.

He singled out strong performances in Ghana and Nigeria as well as a “pleasing turnaround” in South Africa.

However, “no interim dividend (was) declared due to uncertainties resulting from COVID-19 impacts,” it said.

AFP

Police Arrest Two Suspected Vandals In Ogun

 

The police in Ogun State have arrested two suspected vandals of telecommunication mast in Ifo Local Government Area of the state.

In a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the State Police Command, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, the suspects were arrested following a distress call received from residents of the area.

According to him, the suspects Monsuru Bankole and Kehinde Bello are 20 years and 48 years respectively.

“The hoodlums numbering about 10 invaded an Airtel telecommunication mast at Abule Ogun area of the town and they were about carting away the backup batteries of the mast.

“On receiving the distress call, the Divisional Police Officer Ifo division, a Chief Superintendent of  Police, Adekunle Samson, quickly mobilized his anti-robbery team and swiftly moved to the scene.

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“On sighting the policemen, the hoodlums took to their heels but they were hotly chased and two members of the gang were arrested while others escaped,” the statement partly read.

Exhibits recovered from the suspects are a Volkswagen bus with registration number APP 871 XH, 12 telecoms back up batteries valued at about N3million, gas cylinder, iron cutter, and other house breaking equipment.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson, has ordered a massive manhunt for the escaped members of the gang.

The police boss also “directed that the arrested suspects be thoroughly investigated with the view of charging them to court as soon as possible.”

Reps Threaten To Issue Warrant Of Arrest On Telecom Operators

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and others at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on March 10, 2020. Photo: Twitter- @HouseNGR

 

The House of Representatives has threatened to arrest telecommunications operators in the country for failing to appear before the Committee on Finance.

During plenary on Thursday, the Chairman of the Committee, James Faleke had expressed frustration over the failure of 15 telecoms operators to honour the invitation by the House.

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According to him, their non-appearance was frustrating the investigation by the committee on the alleged $30bn annual leakages in the sector due to tax evasion and diversion of foreign exchange by companies.

Reacting to Faleke’s motion, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said if the telecom operators fail to appear within seven days, the house will issue a warrant for their arrest.

“We will not sit down and accept for the House of Representatives or the National Assembly as a whole to be handicapped because some companies particularly the foreign companies are sitting down somewhere.

“I am sure if MTN was summoned by the South African parliament, they will rush to the parliament. But now you are being summoned by the Nigerian parliament where you do business and you say you cannot show up.

“We will not allow these organisations to bring our democracy to its knees. So I will ask that the Chairman of the Committee issues one more final notice and this serves as notice as well.

“And if in seven days, you do not hear from them, kick-start the process. I will arrest whoever needs to be arrested and compel their attendance at the hearing,” Gbajabiamila said.

Nokia CEO Suri To Step Down In September

Nokia’s new President and CEO Pekka Lundmark (C) shakes hands with resigning President and CEO Rajeev Suri after a press conference at the Nokia headquarters in Espoo, Finland on March 2, 2020. Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva / AFP

 

Nokia’s chief executive officer Rajeev Suri will leave the telecom equipment provider in September and be replaced by the current head of Finnish energy group Fortum, Nokia announced on Monday.

Pekka Lundmark will take over on September 1, Nokia said.

Suri, who has been Nokia’s president and CEO since April 2014, had “indicated earlier to the board that he was considering stepping down from his role at some point in the future, provided a solid succession plan was in place,” the company said.

“After 25 years at Nokia, I have wanted to do something different,” Suri said.

Lundmark has also served as CEO of Konecranes, a global material-handling technology leader. Prior to that, from 1990-2000, he held various executive positions at Nokia, including vice president of strategy and business development at Nokia Networks.

Lundmark also has “extensive experience in China,” he told a press conference on Monday — a market which Nokia last year announced it was backing away from in the light of growing support there for local vendors.

Nokia’s share price rose by four percent on the Helsinki stock exchange to 3.6 euros shortly after opening at 0800 GMT, before falling back somewhat.

The group has remade itself as a 5G network systems company since its mobile phone business was wiped out by Apple and Samsung.

Suri is behind Nokia’s recent transformation, including its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent and the creation of a standalone software business, and the return of the Nokia brand to mobile phones.

He also oversaw the launch of ‘internet of things’ products designed to revolutionise specific sectors, such as soil sensors for agriculture or tracking systems for logistics firms.

However, Nokia’s attempts to break into the 5G equipment market have faltered in the face of fierce competition from Huawei and Ericsson.

Last year Nokia downgraded its 2020 earnings forecast, while chief executive Suri played down the firm’s delays in delivering some equipment orders.

Nokia went on to beat expectations in a “challenging” 2019 and last month posted its first full-year net profit since 2015 of 7.0 million euros, and an operating profit of 2.0 billion euros.

At Monday’s press conference, Suri defended his record, saying that when he took over as CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks in 2009, the year’s operating profit was 28 million euros.

“I’m not entirely satisfied with last year but we still had 2 billion compared to that 28 million,” he said.

AFP