South African MTN Group said in a statement that it is still on its word to continue negotiating a $65 million sale of its 75% stake in its Syrian unit despite the business, MTN Syria, being placed under judicial guardianship over alleged MTN violations of the terms of its licensing contract, which the state says deprived the government of revenue.
MTN has denied the allegations and said that it intended to appeal.
The appointed guardian, who is chairman of MTN Syria minority shareholder TeleInvest, will be responsible for managing day to day operations while the guardianship order remains in place. The court's statement did not indicate how long that might be.
TeleInvest had been lined up to buy MTN Group's 75% stake in MTN Syria for a previously undisclosed price.
“MTN Group is still committed to executing on the agreed transaction with TeleInvest to dispose of its 75% shareholding and loans for a consideration of $65 million in total,” a spokeswoman for the South African company commented.
In the six months to June 2020, MTN Syria accounted for 0.7% of the group's core profit.