Listing on NSE not likely now, says MTN

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By Odunewu Olusegun

As a result of the $10bn claims from Nigerian authorities, MTN may no longer seek to raise capital through an initial public offering on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, National Daily has gathered.

Explaining MTN’s dilemma in an recently at the weekend, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), MTN Nigeria, Ralph Mupita, disclosed that the company plans to explore other means of trading its shares aside from being a listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Mupita used the phrase “pretty challenging and awkward” to describe the IPO during an interview in South Africa.

He, however, disclosed that MTN may complete its listing by the end of this year or first quarter of 2019, saying this is irrespective of the dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the repatriation of $8.1 billion out of Nigeria and a separate tussle over $2 billion in back taxes.

The implementation of the long-anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) of MTN Communications Nigeria Limited came under skepticism due to the $10.1 billion demand by the Nigerian authorities.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) late last month demanded that MTN Group Limited return the sum of $8.1 billion which it was alleged to have illegally repatriated to South Africa from its Nigerian operation between 2006 and 2016.

But the company is yet to comply with the CBN demand, even as it continues to claim innocence. Meanwhile, as though to compound MTN’s troubles, the office of Nigeria’s Attorney General made known its intentions to recover the sum of $2 billion from MTN which it claims the telco owes in back taxes. This too was denied by the company’s management.

The telco’s decision to reconsider listing its shares in the Nigerian Capital Market, through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), is a direct fallout of its lingering disputes with the Nigerian authorities (its biggest market) that wiped out more than a third of the company’s market value over three weeks.

MTN pledged to list the shares after being fined $1 billion for not disconnecting SIM cards two years ago.