Monaco Telecom takes control of MTN Cyprus

Monaco Telecom has reached an agreement with MTN for the acquisition of all the shares of MTN Cyprus, the fastest growing telecom operator in Cyprus, with more than 400,000 customers and a turnover of 123 million euros in 2017. Launched in July, 2004, MTN Cyprus operates the second mobile phone license in Cyprus. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.

Photo: Roland Tanglao

This acquisition is part of Monaco Telecom’s international development strategy, which is being pursued by its shareholders, NJJ and the Government of the Principality of Monaco. It aims to build a regional presence in the Mediterranean basin. The national operator’s proven innovation know-how in mobile, internet and television, combined with its experience in international markets, allows it to invest in new countries to bring high quality telecommunication services to other markets, Monaco Telecom said.

Martin Péronnet, General Manager of Monaco Telecom added: “We are very pleased to have found this agreement to acquire MTN Cyprus. The company has an excellent management team that has developed a high quality 4G network and attracted a growing number of customers in recent years. MTN Cyprus is perfectly aligned with our ambition to offer our customers high performance fixed and mobile services.”

The division is outside the Johannesburg-based carrier’s core territories of Africa and the Middle East and had 426,000 customers at the end of March, the fewest of the company’s 22 markets. The deal values MTN Cyprus at about eight times 2017 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, the company said.

The move is a “small but welcome step,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst John Davies said in a note. “MTN needs to simplify its operations, so selling the Cyprus unit at a decent valuation is a good start.”

According to Bloomberg, MTN will let Monaco Telecom continue to use the MTN brand in Cyprus for as many as three years in return for a commercial fee. Akira Partners LLP advised MTN on the deal, while Lazard worked for Monaco Telecom. The Monaco company is 55 percent owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel, founder and largest shareholder of Paris-based telecommunications provider Iliad SA.