MTN Uganda has been given two years to list 20% of its shares on the local stock exchange in order to meet the terms of its newly renewed operating licence. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is also requiring the firm to expand its network coverage to at least 90% of the country within five years. MTN had been operating under temporary concessions since its licence ran out in October 2018, but recently reached an agreement with the government to pay USD100 million for a new twelve-year permit.
As reported by CommsUpdate earlier this year, however, the telco has warned that a local listing of shares could result in no increase in domestic share ownership. MTN Uganda CEO Wim Vanhelleputte said in January that instead of the listing requirement, the government should allow foreign firms to sell stakes to vetted local investors via private placements. This would guarantee local ownership, whereas an entry to the stock market could result in foreign investors buying shares, even if participation in the initial public offer (IPO) is restricted to Ugandans.