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MTN’s listing on NSE being frustrated by recession, fines, policy summersaults’

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Indications have emerged that MTN Nigeria’s earlier target of listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) any time this year may remain in the pipeline for long considering the weakening impacts of recession, incessant fines from the regulator and serial policy changes that reduces business plans.

Details from international news agency, Bloomberg say MTN may keep the listing plan in view till 2018 when it thinks economic recovery in Nigeria will be better.

Phuthuma Nhleko, MTN chairman and acting chief executive officer said at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that “It’s a work in progress and hopefully within the 12 to 18-month period we will be able to do it,” stressing clearly that “Regulatory issues need to be resolved, and the macro conditions need to have improved.”

“We’ve always intended to list — we have reaffirmed that with the government,” said Nhleko, who will revert to his previous role as non-executive chairman when new CEO Rob Shuter arrives in March.

“Clearly, we can only list when the conditions are conducive.”

Before now, MTN had subscribed to list the unit in Nigeria as part of the settlement of a 330 billion naira ($1 billion) fine imposed by the government for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers.

The group made it clear in July that the listing would take place in 2017, subject to market conditions. Since then, a senator’s allegations that it illegally moved $14 billion out of the country have threatened to delay the process as probes at the Red Chambers continue endlessly.

Statistics at the end of 2016 trading activities show that the NSE All Share Index was the world’s worst performer last year among 94 indexes tracked by Bloomberg, losing 41 percent in dollar terms.

MTN shares have lost more than a third of their value since the fine was handed down in October 2015, and the company has overhauled management and toughened up its approach to regulators as a result. The wireless operator had about 235 million customers across 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East as of end September.

MTN share price was little changed at 125.02 rand as of 10:02 a.m. in Johannesburg on Friday, valuing the company at 236 billion rand ($17 billion).

As part of moves to hit the NSE, MTN Nigeria had in July last year appointed units of Citigroup and Standard Bank to advise on the Nigeria listing.


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