MTN Meets SEC on IPO, Seeks Concessions to Fast-track Listing


Goddy Egene with agency report

Nigeria’s biggest telecoms provider, MTN, has met with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to discuss a possible initial public offering (IPO) of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and how it wants to structure the share sale.

According to Reuters, SEC Director General, Mounir Gwarzo, said MTN had discussed the possibility of issuing various classes of shares to targeted investor groups. He said the telecoms firm was looking at three different classes which would be new in Nigeria.

Gwarzo said the SEC was willing to support the share sale as long as it was within local laws and advised the telecoms firm to ensure retail investors were protected.

THISDAY checks further revealed that at the meeting, MTN also discussed the possibility of getting some concessions that will speed up the listing.

It was gathered that the joint financial advisers and issuing houses to MTN on the proposed IPO and listing – Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Stanbic IBTC – accompanied the management of the company to the meeting with SEC.

“I can confirm to you that the management of the MTN Group and its advisors met with the SEC management. The main purpose was for them to ask for details of the procedure to embark on the IPO and the possibility of getting some concessions to fast-track the offer process.

“The commission is willing to assist the company to achieve its objectives,” a SEC source told THISDAY yesterday.

According to the source, the IPO would likely come up in the first quarter of 2017, depending on the economic situation in the country.

The meeting with SEC, notwithstanding, MTN is yet to formerly submit an application to the regulator for the IPO and listing of its shares.

MTN is the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria with 57 million subscribers, and Nigeria accounts for a third of its revenue.

Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator had agreed to list its shares in Nigeria 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 5.2 million unregistered subscribers.

Preparatory to the listing, MTN last month announced the appointment of Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited, 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 Lead Issuing House.

MTN had said in a statement in July that it was targeting 2017 to list its shares on the NSE.

“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,” the company had said.

It added that Stanbic IBTC Capital, the Nigerian arm of Johannesburg-based Standard Bank, would be the lead issuing house, while a full syndicate including Nigerian parties would be appointed in due course.