MTN’s Syrian operations has been placed under under judicial guardianship after a court case ruling in favour of the country’s telecoms regulator. 

The Syrian Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority has accused MTN of mismanagement and violation of its operating licence conditions. The regulator had filed a lawsuit against MTN before the administrative court of Damascus seeking interim measures against MTN Syria. 

This week, MTN became the second mobile operator in the Middle East country to have judicial custody imposed on it.  

It said on on Friday afternoon that it strongly disagrees with the allegations made before the court — which have yet to be made known — as well as the decision, and intends to file an appeal. In addition, the group is also considering other appropriate steps to take in light of the ruling.

As part of the ruling, the court has appointed the chair of TeleInvest, the minority shareholder of MTN Syria, as the judicial guardian responsible for managing its day-to-day operations as it remains a going concern.

The announcement comes as MTN is getting ready to exit Syria as part of its strategy to sell its Middle East operations and focus on Africa. This strategy includes asset disposals of interests in non-core businesses such as Jumia and IHS.

In the six months to June 2020, MTN Syria contributed 0.7% to the group’s reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda). At that time, the net assets attributable to MTN Syria in the MTN Group accounts had been written down to the estimated recoverable amount of R1.4bn ($80m).



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