MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s giant wireless operator is planning to raise about $1 billion (N313.3 billion) in an initial public offering (IPO) at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), a condition tied to the settlement of a record fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The mobile operator is proposing to whittle down the equity of its Nigerian shareholders. “Minority shareholders may sell down their holdings or exit entirely, while MTN 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 Johannesburg-based company is still fine-tuning any offer and no final decision has been made on the amount, the people said. MTN declined to comment. The IPO is part of a deal struck with the Nigerian government to pay a 330 billion naira ($1 billion) penalty for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers.
The negotiations over the fine, which has contributed to a 38 percent decline in MTN’s share price since it became public in October, cost 1.3 billion rand in professional-service fees, according to the company.
Nigeria is MTN’s biggest money spinner, accounting for more than a third of its sales and profit for a company that has a market value on the Johannesburg bourse of 220 billion rand ($15 billion) according to a source.
On July 28, MTN disclosed that it has appointed Stanbic IBTC Capital and Citigroup as transaction advisors on its planned public listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) tentatively 2017, which is a condition for the settlement of N1.04 trillion simcard fine.