JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s MTN Group has agreed to invest more than $295 million in Iranian Net, a fixed line broadband network in which it is to buy an initial 49 percent stake.
The outline deal announced on Monday extends MTN’s interests in the Iranian telecoms market that have opened up to foreigners following the lifting of international sanctions, which has also allowed MTN to repatriate $1 billion in accumulated dividends from its 49 percent stake in wireless network operator Irancell.
The latest agreement, which is still at a non-binding stage, is the second for MTN in Iran this year after Africa’s biggest wireless networks group invested in Iran Internet Group, which runs a car-hailing app called Snapp.ir.
MTN said it will pay 540 million rand ($40 million) to buy a 49 percent stake in Iranian Net and will invest an additional 3.4 billion rand in both equity and loans to help the Iranian company develop a fiber network over the next five years.
“This investment, should it be completed, represents an opportunity to capitalize on the continued strong growth expected in the Iranian broadband market, with an initial focus on eight of the main cities,” MTN said in a statement.
($1 = 13.5535 rand)
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Jason Neely, Greg Mahlich)