The Group Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group, Rob Shutter, on Monday said that the group’s plan to list its Nigerian unit through Initial Public Offering (IPO) this year was under threat after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fined the telecom firm $8.1 billion over illegally repatriated funds.
Shuter said that “the implementation of our IPO has always been subject to satisfactory market conditions and this event will potentially make it complicated for us to conclude the process.
“Despite this, we have instructed our advisors and our teams on the ground to continue at full pace,” he said.
Earlier this year, the MTN boss had told journalists that the company’s planning for the Nigerian listing were at an advanced stage and it should be concluded this year if market conditions are appropriate.
It would be recalled that the apex bank had last week indicted MTN over what it termed improperly issuing certificates to transfer funds out of Nigeria after the company converted shareholder loans in its Nigerian unit to preference shares in 2007. MTN denied the allegations.
As a result, MTN Group shares plunged as much as 25 per cent to a nine year low on Thursday after the allegations were levelled by the nation’s apex financial regulator.
MTN had previously said it aimed to list this year in its largest market, the continent’s most populous country of 190 million people, as it seeks to expand mobile services to boost margins and access new revenue streams.
Access Bank Chief Executive, Herbert Wigwe, was quoted in the report as saying that bankers are set to hold a meeting soon during which they will discuss the payment and how to “engage government and regulators to resolve the issue,” according to
Other sources familiar with the matter said the quantum of the CBN’s fine affected the market conditions, casting doubt into the likelihood that the process would be completed by the end of the year, if at all.
The Securities and Exchange Commission had said recently that it never received any application for IPO from the telecommunications company, despite its management’s claim of impending listing spanning over eight months.
The Director General of the commission, Ms. Mary Uduk, assured that if or whenever the telco submits its application, it would be given expeditious attention.