Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Revealed: Listing on Nigeria’s exchange part of MTN’s fine reduction deal with FG

Leading global news agency Bloomberg has disclosed that MTN is inching closer to hitting the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) based on the fact that it formed part of the deal to reduce the $5.2bn fine for breaches in deactivating over five million unregistered SIM cards several months ago.

The revealed term tends to look like the condition placed by Ghana telecoms regulatory agency for access to 4G LTE licence last year which is working after all.

Findings and available statistics show that even though MTN Nigeria may had been finding it difficult to pay the fine which had been spread over time, Nigeria remains its most viable market having maintained lead in both data and voice subscriber base from inception to date.

Besides, the company recently laid to rest speculations of exit following last week’s solidarity visit to the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), where it clearly announced its robust confidence on the economy.

Through it has not been clear the particular time it will enlist at the Nigerian exchange, pundits say whenever MTN hits market, statistics and market indicators will recalibrate positively for the economy.

Senior Africa analyst at Eurasia Group, Amaka Anku revealed to Bloomberg that MTN agreed on the listing as part of a deal to reduce the regulatory fine, originally set at $5.2 billion, saying “Listing might not be worth it for the company’s balance sheet in the short term”.

She said in an emailed response to questions, noting that “The main benefit for MTN would be increased goodwill from a wider section of the Nigerian population.”

MTN Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko had said in January that the share sale will probably happen by September next year when all regulatory issues may have settled.

MTN, which made 35 percent of its revenue in Nigeria in 2015 is reporting earnings for last year on Thursday, as it appointed units of Citigroup Inc. and Standard Bank Group Limited to advise it.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index was the world’s worst performer last year among 94 indexes tracked by Bloomberg, losing 41 percent in dollar terms. The market slump came as the economy faced its worst downturn in more than two decades amid lower oil revenue and capital controls that deterred investment.

Business Hilights recalls that both the Acting President, prof yemi Osinbajo and even the chief executive of NSE, Oscar Onyema, have been trying to convince the country’s biggest mobile-phone companies to list for years.

However, neither Bharti Airtel Limited’s local unit, Globacom Limited, or Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Telecommunications Corp., known as Etisalat, have sold stock in Nigeria.

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