MTN’s $236 million offering in Ghana falls short of target

By Helen Oji |   03 September 2018   |   4:00 am  

MTN Group’s unit in Ghana raised 1.1 billion cedis ($236 million), selling about a third of the shares made available in an initial public offering, according to a document seen by Bloomberg

MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company by subscribers, sold 1.5 billion securities of the initial agreed 4.6 billion shares at 75 pesewas each, when it offered a 35 per cent stake in the unit in May.
Accordingly, the shares will be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, with trading due to start September 5, as contained in the sale’s prospectus.

Regrettably, the Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company by subscriber, has failed to fulfill regulatory requirement that will enable it list the Nigerian unit, estimated at $5.23 billion on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), as earlier promised by the Group.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had in a recent press briefing, in Lagos, stated that neither MTN Nigeria Limited nor any of its advisers or representatives has filed any application on the IPO with the commission.

The telecommunications giant, had in July 2016, announced that its board has resolved to proceed with preparations for a listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The mobile operator said the IPO will go ahead “as soon as commercially and legally possible”, and that it had established a management task team with the responsibility to guide the company towards the listing.

According to pre-IPO documents seen by an international online news platform, MTN was to list its Nigerian unit worth $5.23 billion by July 2017.

It plans to raise at least $400 million from the IPO to pay preference shareholders and go on a roadshow between May and June.

But with the way and manner MTN was handling the issue, operators have expressed doubts over the possibility of MTN’s IPO and subsequent listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) this year.

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The Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Limited, Malam Garba Kurfi, said that MTN was dragging the issue because of the way and manner things were handled in the country.

“I will not be surprise if they come with another excuse to shift the offer to next year as there is nothing on the ground to confirm their seriousness.

An economist, Johnson Chukwu, in an interview with The Guardian, said unless Nigerian government adopts what is obtainable in other emerging countries, multinationals like MTN, will not list on the Exchange.

“For multinationals, Nigeria must consider what Ghana did. Before Ghanaian government issued a 4G license to MTN, they included as part of the issuance that MTN must have its operations listed in Ghana Stock Exchange within 15 months of securing the 4G.”

The Publicity Secretary of the Independence Shareholders Association, Moses Igbrude, said: “ MTN, other telecommunications and oil majors in the upstream industry, which are not listing are caused by government.”

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