MTN Finally Lists On The Nigerian Stock Exchange, But It’s Not An IPO

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Africa’s biggest mobile operator MTN made shares available in Nigeria on May 16, but it did not raise any additional capital through an initial public offering.

Instead, the South African telecommunications giant is officially on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by way of an introductory listing, meaning that it has only listed already existing shares, according to ITNewsAfrica.

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MTN Nigeria listed 20 billion ordinary shares valued at $0.25 each.

The company’s $5 billion listing makes its the second largest firm on the stock exchange, with only Dangote Cement’s $8.3 billion market cap topping it, according to Bloomberg.

No Nigerian Stock Exchange IPO

The decision to pursue an introductory listing rather than their original IPO plan was in response to an unresolved $2 billion tax dispute in the country, Quartz reports.

The issue led the mobile operator to believe that it would not receive a fair valuation under the circumstances.

Nigeria’s attorney general accused the South African mobile service provider of not paying all its taxes in September 2018, and the two parties have yet to reach an agreement, according to BankerAfrica.

tax dispute Nigerian Stock Exchange
MTN is finally listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Photo – AP – Sunday Alamba

In December 2018 the South African Mobile operator agreed to pay a $52.6 million settlement to the Nigerian Central Bank after negotiating a fine on $8.1 billion that the bank claims MTN improperly repatriated to South Africa, according to Businesslive.

The mobile operator was in the process of finalizing its Nigerian IPO before it was ordered to refund the $8.1 billion.

Africa’s biggest mobile phone company by subscribers originally planned to make 30 percent of its Nigerian shares available for listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Those shares were expected to be worth around $512 million, according to ENCA.

In September 2018, MTN listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, with the price of shares in MTN’s Ghana unit increasing by four percent to $0.16 on its stock market debut, Moneyweb reported.

It began trading 1.5 million shares on the Accra-based exchange after an initial public offering that yielded $238 million.