South African mobile giant MTN Group has declared its intention to expand its footprint in Africa and the Middle East, ITweb.co.za reports, but has ruled out a large scale ‘transformational’ deal. Speaking at a press conference earlier this week MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa said that the company is focusing on ‘bolt-on’ deals that would expand its footprint and enable it to be the number one or number two player in a given country. However, he cautioned that it is difficult to find the types of buyout opportunities that would give MTN access to the kind of new countries that it is interested in.
MTN, he said, is ‘comfortable’ operating in the Middle East and Africa, as the company understands those regions well enough to minimise risk. In particular, Dabengwa expressed an interest in entering Ethiopia, if another licence is offered, and Angola, if a third wireless licence becomes available or if a privatisation opportunity arises. The CEO also indicated that MTN may consider moving into South East Asia, but needs to feel comfortable that the asset is worth investing in before making a move. However, ventures further afield, to the likes of South America or the Pacific region were both ruled out.