MTN Group is pleased to announce that progress in reducing our holding company debt has been recognised by rating agency S&P Global Ratings, which has upgraded the Group’s standalone credit rating to investment grade.
S&P has revised MTN’s standalone credit profile to bbb- from bb+, citing progress made in deleveraging the balance sheet and on the expectation that MTN will not return to higher levels of leverage. A standalone rating excludes S&P’s view of government influence and sovereign risk.
“We are very encouraged that our work to reduce debt has been recognised, with a move up to investment grade,” says MTN Group Chief Financial Officer Tsholofelo Molefe. “Faster deleveraging of our holding company balance sheet is a critical element of our Ambition 2025, and today’s announcement is another important indicator that we are on track with the delivery of our strategy.”
The last time MTN Group had an investment grade rating was five years ago, in 2016. By reducing debt, MTN has greater financial flexibility to take advantage of the attractive growth opportunities that we have identified. Central to reducing debt is our asset realisation programme which aims to realise proceeds of more than R25 billion by 2025.
In line with our Ambition 2025, our medium-term guidance includes a target to achieve leverage ratio of the holding company of less than 1.5x. At the end of June 2021, MTN’s holding company leverage improved to 1.4x from 2.2x at end-December 2020. This was supported by significant progress in upstreaming cash from our operating companies, including from Nigeria.
On Friday, S&P also affirmed MTN’s BB- long-term issuer credit rating, with a stable outlook.
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