Financial

MTN picks bankers for Nigeria IPO

MTN aims to list its Nigerian unit, worth $5.23 billion (R63.6 billion), by July.
MTN aims to list its Nigerian unit, worth $5.23 billion (R63.6 billion), by July.

MTN has appointed Nigerian investment firm, Chapel Hill Denham, as lead manager for the initial public offering (IPO) of its Nigerian business in Lagos later this year, two sources told Reuters.

South Africa's Rand Merchant Bank, global firm Renaissance Capital and Nigeria's Vetiva Capital were picked as joint issuers. The telecoms giant also appointed seven placement agents that would help market the offering, the sources said.

The company also met with local and foreign analysts in Lagos last Friday to help them understand its business and operations, ahead of the forthcoming listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Earlier this month, MTN group CEO Rob Shuter told Reuters that IPO plans were "well advanced" and the company would provide exact terms in the next few months.

According to pre-IPO documents, seen by Reuters in February, MTN aims to list its Nigerian unit worth $5.23 billion (R63.6 billion) by July 2018 and raise funds to cut debt. It plans to raise at least $400 million (R4.9 billion) from the IPO to pay preference shareholders and go on a roadshow between May and June.

The telecoms firm is also working with Stanbic IBTC Capital, Standard Bank of South Africa, Standard Advisory London and Citigroup Global Markets, as joint advisors and global coordinators, with Stanbic acting as lead issuer.

By the time of publication, MTN had not responded to a request from ITWeb for further comment.

The listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange has been on the cards for some time, and was originally planned for last year. The mobile giant, currently listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, promised to make a secondary listing in Nigeria as part of a 330 billion naira fine settlement arrangement with the federal government of Nigeria.

The June 2016 settlement came after MTN was slapped with a N1.04 trillion fine by the Nigerian Communications Commission in October 2015 for failing to meet a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards in the West African nation. The fine was later reduced by 25% to N780 billion, before the amount of N330 billion was agreed on after months of negotiations; the equivalent of $1.671 billion or R25.1 billion at the time.

MTN Nigeria has around 402 million shares in issue, the same amount in preference shares, which it sold at $0.99 in 2007. As part of the IPO, it will reportedly split one share into 50 units, to create 20 billion shares, which would be listed on the bourse and set the IPO price via book building.

MTN shares are currently traded over-the-counter in Nigeria.

Besides the Nigeria listing, MTN also plans to list in Ghana this year.

Under the terms of its 4G licence in Ghana, MTN's local operation is required to introduce Ghanaian investors as shareholders. MTN said in March that a public offer through a listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. MTN will offer a 35% stake in the Ghanaian business through the public offer.

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