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NSE woos other networks as MTN lists shares

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...MTNN listing on NSE lifts All-share index by 0.54% 
Hope for increased market liquidity on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), brightened yesterday, when the local bourse formally listed by introduction 20.35 billion ordinary shares of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc at N90 per share, on its Premium Board.

MTN Nigeria, a part of the MTN Group, Africa’s leading cellular telecommunications company, is the first telecommunications network provider to be listed on the NSE Premium Board, a listing segment for the elite group of issuers that meet The Exchange’s most stringent corporate governance and listing standards.

This Board also features Dangote Cement Plc, FBN Holdings Plc, Zenith International Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Lafarge Africa Plc, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, and United Bank for Africa Plc.

The listing of MTN’s shares finally took place at 2:14 p.m. local time on Thursday, leaving only a brief window before traders knocked off for the day. MTN Nigeria’s shares climbed 10 per cent from their listing price of N90 after the float went live. The listing pushed the firm’s worth to over N2 trillion within minutes.

MTN Group, which own 78.8 per cent of the Nigerian arm, decided to list its local unit on the NSE in 2016, after agreeing to pay a $1.7 billion fine to settle infractions discovered by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), on the Subscriber Identification Number (SIM) cards.

Nigeria accounts for a third of MTN’s yearly core profit, while indigenous investors own 19.4 per cent of the company. The South African-based firm currently controls 38 per cent market share and services 65 million Nigerians.

However, the company is still in the middle of a $2 billion tax row with Nigeria’s attorney general, which it claims is delaying a further sale of shares and public offering.

Speaking on the listing, National Council President, NSE, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo, said: “A Premium Board listing is a sign of commitment to strong corporate governance, excellence, professionalism, efficiency in service delivery and providing increased returns to shareholders.  It is our expectation that the MTN Nigeria listing, which is the NSE’s 2nd largest, will encourage other telecommunication companies to list their shares on The Exchange, thereby opening the sector up to cheaper, long term capital that will boost innovation and development.”

The Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar Onyema, who also encouraged other players in the sector to explore the different opportunities in the market to raise long term capital, said: “Having MTN Nigeria listed in our market is a testament of The Exchange’s commitment to building a dynamic and inclusive market, and creating channels for sustainable
investment.

“This listing will promote liquidity for MTN Nigeria, enhance its value and increase transparency, as our platform remains one of the best avenues for raising capital and enabling sustainable growth for national development.”

In confirmation, MTN Nigeria (MTNN) Plc’s listing on the nation’s bourse yesterday, changed its fortunes by and halting nine consecutive sessions of downtrend, causing the All-share index to appreciate by 0.54 per cent.

Specifically, the All Share Index (ASI) gained 152.11 absolute points, representing a growth of 0.54 per cent to close at 28,438.19 points. Similarly, market capitalisation grew by N1.899 trillion or 17.87 per cent to close at N12.526 trillion due to the addition of N1.83 trillion market capitalisation of MTN Nigeria.

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited, said: “Following the significant buying interest on the newly listed MTNN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), we expect the local bourse to maintain its bullish performance as investors look to extend trade in MTN’s fundamentally sound stock.”
Codros Capital said: “We reiterate our cautious trading pattern in the short term. Meanwhile, we believe stable macroeconomic fundamentals and compelling valuation remain supportive of recovery in the mid-to-long term.”

However, market breadth remained in a negative position, with 10 gainers versus 25 losers. NPF Micro Finance Bank recorded the highest price gain of 9.70 per cent to close at N1.47 per share. Associated Bus Company followed with 7.41 per cent to close at 29 kobo, while Wapic Insurance gained 5.56 per cent to close at 38 kobo, per share.

Union Diagnostic & Clinical Services rose 4.35 per cent to close at 24 kobo, and Courteville Business Solutions by 4.17 per cent to close at 25 kobo, per share.

On the other hand, Unity Bank led the losers’ chart with 9.72 per cent to close at 65 kobo, per share.

Cutix followed with 8.33 per cent to close at N1.65, while Sovereign Trust Insurance shed eight per cent to close at 23kobo, per share.
Wema Bank fell 6.06 per cent to close at 62 kobo, and Africa Prudential 5.76 per cent to close at N3.62, per share.

The total volume traded advanced by 76.7 per cent to 312.36 million shares worth N2.81 billion, traded in 3,933 deals. Transactions in the shares of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) topped the activity chart with 105.49 million shares valued at N130.1 million. Access Bank followed with 23.54 million shares worth N153.64 million, while FCMB Group traded 23.17 million shares at N39.33 million.


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