MTN Nigeria’s planned listing on the Stock Exchange would be actualised when its alleged outstanding $2billion tax issue is resolved.
The explanation came yesterday when MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, addressed the media on several issues, including the firm’s 2018 financials and its expansion drive, among others.
He said MTN Group plans to push ahead with the initial public offering of its Nigerian unit once the company resolves a $2 billion tax dispute in the country.
Top executives of MTN present at the briefing, including Corporate Relations Executive, Tobechukwu Okigbo and Chief Financial Officer, Kunle Awobodu, took turns to offer explanations on the impending listing.
“When the tax matter has been settled, “the board can assign a value to the company and we will do an IPO,” Okigbo said, pointing out that “it is difficult to put a value on it when there is such an issue.
”There was a lot of work that we did on the listing and our target was to list in 2018. We are a private company at the moment and we need to change to a public company before we can list,” Okigbo said, adding, “we need to send our directors for training to comply with SEC and NSE requirements to be able to list and a lot of work went on at the backend on the listing. Then, the CBN issue happened. The truth be told, if we had listed while the CBN issue was on, we would have been negligent.
“That is because we would have gone to offer our shares to the public when we had an issue at hand with the CBN that was substantial. If I remind you, they were talking about $8 billion. So, I can’t go and list and offer my shares to the public if I have this thing hanging over my neck. We thank God we were able to resolve this on 24th of December.
“So, we are working towards the listing and we plan to do the listing before the end of first half 2019, or probably before the end of quarter three. There is a clear drive in doing the listing. It is something we have always wanted to do,” Okigbo stated.
Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, had accused MTN of not paying all its taxes in September, and the two sides have yet to reach an agreement. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 26 in Lagos.
The parent company has said it would list its local unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by June this year. “We anticipate it in two phases, listing by introduction and IPO eventually,” once the tax issue is cleared, Awobodu said, with Moolman affirming that the listing by introduction could take place in April or May.
Notwithstanding the lingering tax and IPO issues, MTN has received an approval in principle to start mobile-payment services in Nigeria, the biggest of its 20 markets around Africa and the Middle East. Financial services is a key growth market for the carrier due to a scarcity of banks in many parts of the continent and rising take of smart phones and data services.
Also, MTN will start selling a new smart phone in Nigeria, costing about N8,000 which the company, Moolman, said, is seen as a way of increasing data revenue, MTN shares rose 1.4 percent to 96.18 rand at the close in Johannesburg, the fifth consecutive day of gains since it announced a 15-billion rand ($1 billion) disposal plan last week. That included online retailer Jumia Technologies AG, in which MTN is the biggest shareholder, which announced IPO plans in New York on Tuesday.
SOURCE; naija247news.com t��t