South Africa’s MTN Group has stated that regulatory issues and macroeconomic conditions need to be resolved before its Nigerian unit proceeds with a plan to lists its shares on the local stock exchange, Bloomberg reports. ‘It’s a work in progress and hopefully within the twelve to 18 month period we will be able to do it,’ MTN Chairman and Acting CEO Phuthuma Nhleko was quoted as saying at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, adding: ‘Regulatory issues need to be resolved, and the macro conditions need to have improved.’ MTN Nigeria revealed in July last year that it planned to list its shares on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), subject to suitable market conditions, and had appointed Citigroup and Stanbic IBTC Capital as joint transaction advisors and global coordinators.
The planned initial public offering (IPO) forms part of a settlement arrangement with the Nigerian government regarding a NGN330 billion (USD1.0 billion) fine awarded to MTN Nigeria, the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, in October 2015 for missing a deadline to disconnect around 5.1 million incompletely registered subscribers. However, Bloomberg writes that a number of issues are threatening to delay the process, including allegations that the company illegally moved USD13.9 billion out of the country, as well as a market slump, lower oil revenue and capital controls deterring investment. MTN has denied the allegations – first raised by Senator Dino Melaye – that it illegally repatriated the funds from Nigeria.