MTN’s N97 Billion Public Offer Opens Today

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• Telecoms company pegs share price at N169 per unit, to issue additional 15% of offer if over-subscribed

James Emejo, Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja and Emma Okonji in Lagos

Telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria, yesterday announced that its N97 billion public offer to retail investors for the sale of 575 million shares held in the local company by the MTN Group will open today. The company stated that the offer, which will be priced at N169 per share, would close on December 14.

MTN Nigeria Chief Executive, Karl Toriola, said at a media briefing on the offer in Abuja that the company believed the “success and growth of MTN Nigeria are intrinsically linked to that of Nigeria and Nigerians. Therefore, we are very excited to offer Nigerians the opportunity to own shares in MTN Nigeria.”

He said the minimum subscription would be for 20 shares and lots of shares thereafter, adding that offer includes incentive in the form of one free share for every 20 shares purchased, subject to a maximum of 250 shares per investor.

Toriola said the offer was open to retail investors, who bought and held shares allotted to them for at least 12 months post allotment date.

The retail offer is the first in the country to be delivered end-to-end via a digital platform by utilising the power of technology to facilitate the largest participation possible by Nigerian investors.

Toriola, further explained that the offer represented the second stage in a phased programme of inviting Nigerians to participate in the value creation that MTN Nigeria offered. He said the company had In May 2019, listed by introduction, leading to the current offer opening.

He said the purpose of the offer was to “really diversify our shareholding, specifically with the focus on retail investors, to bring them into our shareholding base so they can share in the creation of value that we see in the next 20 to 40 years coming of MTN Nigeria in this great country.”

He told THISDAY that the primary objective was not to raise money adding, “We have a very strong balance sheet. We genuinely want the broad base of retail shareholders in our investor base. And there are lots of shares on offer. I believe everyone should participate and I believe that majority of people would be able to get some shares in the offer.”

The MTN Nigeria CEO said, “Our journey to becoming the largest network in Nigeria has been humbling but we still have a long way to go. There is much more to do to support the evolution of an inclusive digital economy and we continue to invest as we evolve into a truly digital operator, capable of seamlessly interrogating value across the evolving telecommunications, digital and fintech segments.”

Investors would be able to submit applications through the issuing houses, receiving agents, including authorised stock brokers and Nigerian banks, and online via unique digital application platform primary offer administered by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

Commenting on the offer also, MTN Group President/Chief Executive, Ralph Mupita said, “The offer with MTN Group’s strategic priority is to create shared value.”

Mupita added, “In the last 20 years, we have worked diligently to connect 68 million subscribers onto voice and data networks and ensure that we deliver the benefits of a modern connected life.

“With this offer, we will contribute to further deepening of Nigeria’s equity capital markets. It is the first in a series of transactions as the MTN Group implements its plan to ensure broad based ownership by reducing its shareholding in MTN Nigeria to 65 per cent over time.

“We thank the Nigerian authorities for the support we, as MTN Group, have received in the various approvals related to this offer and remain committed to play our humble role in digital and financial inclusion across the country over the medium term.”

In an interview with journalists, Chief Financial Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Modupe Kadri, said the offer was an opportunity for Nigerians to own shares in the company, saying MTN Group has determined to sell about 14 per cent of its share in MTN Nigeria to Nigerians. Kadri said MTN Nigeria had a track record of declaring 80 per cent of its profit as dividends over the years and urged Nigerians to take advantage of the investment opportunity as well as opportunity for capital appreciation.

He explained that 10 per cent of the offer will go to institutional investors and 90 per cent will be allotted to retail investors starting today. He also said in the event that the 575 million shares were oversubscribed, MTN Group was prepared to put an additional 15 per cent of the offer, which would bring the total offer to about 661 million shares offered for the exercise.

Chief Executive, NGX, Mr. Temi Popoola, in an interview with THISDAY, expressed optimism that the MTN offer transaction would change capital market investing in Nigeria by addressing investor confidence and financial literacy. He also said he was confident that though the number of active investors still remained low currently, “but we hope this single transaction will change this.” He added that the offer transaction remained the first with end to end digital in the country.