The inability of MTN Nigeria to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in July as earlier promised is a source of concerns to market stakeholders.
Many express fear that the telecom company may have abandoned its plan to make Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Pre-IPO documents seen by Reuters in February, showed that MTN was to list its Nigerian unit worth $5.23 billion (N153bn) by July.
It planned to raise at least $400 million from the IPO to pay preference shareholders.
As part of the IPO it would split one share into 50 units, to create 20 billion shares, which would be listed on the bourse and set the IPO price via book building.
But experts said the MTN IPO is now doubtful, as the company isn’t forthcoming on the issue.
An MTN spokesperson, Funso Aina, was not available for comment yesterday, but an official of the company said the company didn’t make any commitment or agreement to list in Nigeria.
“We didn’t make any agreement with the government and we are not under any obligation to list”, the official who preferred anonymity told Daily Trust.
We don’t know when MTN will list – SEC
However, the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Uduk, said the commission is still expecting MTN to list on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange
Uduk disclosed this while fielding questions on the update of the MTN listing on the side-line of the just concluded annual meeting of the International monetary fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Bali, Indonesia.
Analyst and market watchers have expressed doubt that the MTN listing which was expected to have happened in July, is unlikely to be on the cards before the end of the year, in the face of the recent controversy with the Central Bank of Nigeria on capital importation certificates which has seen some commercial banks fined in excess of N5 billion.
Uduk however said: “We are still expecting that MTN will come to the market, what we cannot say is when they will come.
“We also have a New Listings Committee of the CMC whose responsibility includes fashioning out ways for these multi nationals and other companies already not listed to list. The committee is meeting with some of these companies and we hope that very soon they will have breakthroughs.”
The DG also disclosed that the commission is strongly focused on domestic investors as the foundation of the market.
“When these foreign investors leave, they are the ones that are here and still make us have a market. There are certain initiatives that we have come up with to build confidence and encourage their participation. One of them is zero tolerance on market infraction. We have also put in place Complaint Management Framework, we have in place other initiatives like Risk Based Supervision as well as the ongoing e-divident mandate and Direct Cash Settlement,” She added.
MTN must list before May 2019 -NCC
But the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, had said that MTN must list on Nigeria’s stock exchange on or before May 2019 as contained in the agreement over the 2015 fine settlement between the regulator and the telecom company.
He said he was confidence MTN would yield to the yearning of most Nigerians by going public with its shares and make ordinary Nigerians part owners of the telecom company.