An initial public offering (IPO) of MTN Nigeria, the West African nation’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, is targeting proceeds of USD1 billion for South Africa-based MTN Group and the cellco’s minority shareholders, according to a report by Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with the plan. In July MTN Nigeria announced that it was proceeding with preparations for a listing of its shares on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), which is expected to take place during 2017, subject to suitable market conditions, and had appointed Stanbic IBTC Capital and Citigroup Global Markets as joint advisors. Minority shareholders may sell down their holdings or exit entirely, while MTN Group may offer a small portion of its stake in the business, one of the people said, declining to be identified because the details are private. The South African firm is still fine-tuning any offer and no final decision has been made on the amount, the sources added.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June this year MTN revealed that, as part of a settlement arrangement with the Nigerian government regarding a NGN330 billion (USD1.7 billion) billion fine, it would take immediate steps to ensure the listing of its shares as soon as commercially and legally possible. MTN Nigeria was initially fined a total of NGN1.04 trillion in October 2015 for failing to disconnect around 5.1 million incompletely registered subscribers. Although the total was cut to NGN780 billion in December, MTN launched legal action against the fine later that month, before withdrawing its lawsuit in February and later agreeing to pay the federal government a total of NGN330 billion over three years.