Goddy Egene with agency report
The hope of many Nigerians to own equity and share in the profit of MTN Group will soon materialise as the Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator has finally appointed advisers preparatory to its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
MTN had agreed to list the unit in Nigeria, the company’s biggest market, as part of a deal to pay a N330 billion ($1 billion) fine in cash to the Nigerian government for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers.
As a follow up to that agreement, MTN Group Limited, has appointed Citigroup Inc. and Standard Bank Group Limited as advisers to list the wireless company’s Nigeria business on the NSE.
The company said in a statement that it was targeting 2017 to list its shares.
“Stanbic IBTC Capital, the Nigerian arm of Johannesburg-based Standard Bank, will be the lead issuing house, while a full syndicate including Nigerian parties will be appointed in due course,” Bloomberg News reported.
In the statement, MTN said as part of a settlement arrangement with the Federal Government of Nigeria, it would undertake immediate steps to ensure the listing of its shares on the NSE as soon as commercially and legally possible.
“MTN Nigeria is pleased to announce that its board of directors has resolved to proceed with preparations for a listing of MTN Nigeria on the NSE as soon as commercially and legally possible and has established a management task team with the responsibility to guide the company towards a listing. At present, MTN Nigeria is targeting that the listing takes place during 2017, subject to suitable market conditions,” it statd
The company explained that it has appointed Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited (together with its affiliates, The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and Standard Advisory London Limited) and Citigroup Global Markets Limited as its Joint Transaction Advisors and Joint Global Coordinators with Stanbic acting as the lead issuing house.
“The proposed listing would be subject to suitable market circumstances and conditions and the appropriate approvals from relevant regulators and other stakeholders,” the company said.
There have been calls by government officials, market regulators and operators to list MTN, other telcos and major oil companies operating in Nigeria on the NSE as way of deepening the local bourse and enable investors share from the huge profits they are making from the economy.
Recently, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, restated the need for the companies to list on the NSE. Speaking during a visit to the NSE in Lagos, Dogara said: “The House may consider passing a law that will compel these companies to list certain percentage of their value on the stock exchange. The market needs to be deepened, this is sad because these companies account for a huge percentage of revenues in oil, communication, energy ,among others.”
He promised legislative interventions in all areas of value-added partnership aimed at wealth creation and redistribution, as well as the creation of employment and economic diversification.