MTN is considering scrapping its Nigerian IPO

MTN Nigeria, currently facing a combined $10 billion in claims from the Nigerian government, has said that it may no longer seek to raise capital through an initial public offering on the country’s stock exchange.

The company is considering other options of trading its shares on the Lagos-based bourse, including a so-called listing by introduction, in which existing shares are listed, Chief Financial Officer Ralph Mupita said in an interview in Johannesburg.

MTN’s board still needs to make a final decision, he said.

“The IPO type of listing has become challenging under current market conditions,” Mupita said.

“We are exploring other options. The Nigerian business would not get fair value under current market conditions. The simplest way to go forward would be an introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.”

MTN could complete the listing in its biggest market by the end of this year or first quarter of next year, the CFO said. The company’s stock has plunged in the wake of a dispute with the central bank over the repatriation of $8.1 billion out of the country and a separate tussle with the attorney general’s office over $2 billion in back taxes. Listing the business on the local exchange forms part of a settlement two years ago over unregistered SIM cards, when MTN negotiated a $5.2 billion fine down to about $1 billion.

“We have sought legal protection for our Nigerian business and a judge has been appointed for upcoming hearings,” Mupita said.

The central bank last week said it is reviewing the new information provided by MTN and the banks into the outflows and that it expects to resolve the matter soon.

Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, Rob Shuter said the company is committed to Nigeria even as the continent’s largest wireless carrier considers how to respond to an order to return $8.1 billion in repatriated funds.

“We have a proud history of being a major partner to the people of Nigeria and notwithstanding our current difficulties are firmly resolved to continue to do so,” Shuter said.

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Gbenga Ajao
Gbenga Ajao is a journalist. He has garnered experience in print, electronic and new media. He is passionate about mobile and web technology.

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