MTN Nigeria IPO done by year-end if market allows-CEO

MTN Nigeria IPO done by year-end if market allows-CEO

By Tunde Osho (with agency reports)

MTN Group Ltd. expects the listing of its Nigerian unit on the Lagos stock exchange to be done by the end of 2018, its CEO said, after suggesting in November that the process would be concluded by mid-year.

“We are progressing very well with the Nigerian listing and if market conditions are appropriate, we will conclude that by the end of the year,” Rob Shuter said Tuesday in an interview in Lagos. He declined to provide more details on the process.

MTN agreed to the Nigerian Stock Exchange initial public offering as part of the settlement of a $1 billion fine imposed by local regulators in 2015. Africa’s biggest wireless operator by sales incurred the penalty after missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown in the West African country. Nigeria is the largest of the company’s 22 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

MTN is planning to raise at least $500 million from the sale of shares, people familiar with the preparations for the listing said. The company could dispose of as much as 30 percent of its Lagos-based unit, the people, who asked not to be identified as the details aren’t public, said in February.

MTN is also preparing to list a 35 percent stake of its local unit in regional neighbour Ghana, part of a deal with the government to use fourth-generation spectrum, a high-speed mobile data service.

“The Ghana IPO is well advanced,” Shuter said, declining to provide details. “We will make the specific announcement of that in accordance with the IPO schedule.”

MTN is targeting close to $800 million dollars with the listing, which would be more than 10 times bigger than the country’s largest IPO to date, people familiar with the matter said in March.