MTN to List N153b Shares on NSE Soon
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
South African firm, MTN Nigeria, is planning to finally list its shares worth about N153 billion ($500 million) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) before the end of first half of this year.
The leading telecommunications company in Nigeria had suspended listing of its stock on the local bourse because of the fine imposed on it by the Nigerian government in 2016 for failing to disconnect unregistered lines on its platform.
It was initially fined N1.04 trillion, but was later reduced to N330 billion.
That year, the firm posted its first loss as a result of the punishment.
However, MTN Group returned to profitability in 2017 when it recorded profit gain during the year.
According to Bloomberg, MTN is listing the N153 billion worth of its equities on NSE as part of the deal it struck when its fine was cut by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the agency regulating the telecoms sector in the Africa’s largest market.
Bloomberg is reporting that Standard Bank Group Limited and Citigroup Incorporated are advisers of MTN Group on the disposal of as much as 30 percent of the Lagos-based unit on the local bourse.
It was gathered that most of the equities would be sold to local institutions and individuals, though foreign investors could be brought in to ensure the process is a success.
Last year, precisely in August, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed that talks were ongoing in listing the company’s shares on the stock exchange.
“Concerning listing of MTN (Nigeria) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, we have started discussions with them and also given them ideas on how to make it possible.
“We hope very soon, when the discussions are over, the company will announce its listing to investing public.
“I believe it (the listing) will boost our economy and showcase Nigeria as a good place to invest,” the then SEC chief, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, had informed journalists after a Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in Lagos.
In June last year, General Manager of MTN, Mr Nikiwe Tsaagane, had assured the Federal Government that the leading telecommunications firm in the country will list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
He had told the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Ogbonnaya Onu, that plans were underway to make shareholders apply for the listing digitally.
“To achieve this, we are working with the Nigeria Stock Exchange to develop an application platform to enable our customers apply online. It would be the first time such is happening in the country,” Mr Tsaagane informed the Minister.
In November 2017, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Group, Mr Rob Shuter, had told Bloomberg in an interview that his firm was making underground plans for an initial public offering of its Nigerian business and should had been completed in the next six months.
According to him, “We have a lot of advisers running around getting everything ready, it is a complicated process and there’s a lot of regulation that needs to be arranged. We are moving forward well with the project and anticipate concluding that in the next six months or so.”