MTN Group said it may no longer raise capital in Nigeria through an Initial Public Offering on the country’s stock exchange. The South African company is currently under pressure to release $10.1 billion to authorities in Nigeria.
In an interview in Johannesburg, CFO, MTN Group, Ralph Mupita said the company was considering other ways to have its stocks traded in Lagos, including an introduction, a strategy in which existing shares are listed. He however noted that it was up to MTN’s board to make the final decision.
Mupita, who noted that a listing by introduction was the simplest way forward, said “the IPO type of listing has become challenging under current market conditions. We are exploring other options. The Nigerian business will not get fair value under current market conditions”. He said it was possible for MTN to complete the listing by the end of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019.
Listing the business in Lagos was part of a settlement made with the Nigerian authorities two years ago over unregistered SIM cards, when MTN negotiated a $5.2 billion fine down to $1 billion. However, the company’s stocks have plunged in the wake of a dispute with the central bank over the repatriation of $8.1 billion out of Nigeria and another tussle over $2 billion in back taxes.
The Central Bank of Nigeria said it was considering new information provided by MTN and the four banks accused and said the matter will be resolved soon.
Mupita revealed that MTN still sees a great business case for Nigeria. He said “we are engaging with authorities and investors and hope to reach a speedy resolution on the matter, to deal with the overhang on our share and the concerns of shareholders about Nigeria’s investment climate”.