MTN planning Nigeria listing: report

MTN said it is planning to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, but will keep its primary listing on the JSE.

The Sunday Times quoted MTN’s executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko as saying that the company would keep its primary listing in SA.

According to the report, MTN has “yet to decide whether this will be a listing of its Nigerian business or a secondary listing of the group on the Nigerian stock exchange”.

Nhleko said the only hurdle was the ongoing challenge of the $3.9-billion fine in Nigeria – for not disconnecting unregistered SIM cards.

MTN’s latest financial results show basic headline earnings per share (HEPS) declined by 51.4% to 746 cents.

The company said this drop was “largely a result of the Nigerian regulatory fine provision (R9.29 billion), which had a 402 cents negative impact on HEPS”.

Late last year, Nigerian regulators fined MTN for failing to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered subscribers.

MTN also recently dropped a Nigerian court challenge of the fine, and the company made a R3.8-billion ‘good faith payment’ to Nigeria in a bid to reach a settlement.

The City Press reported that MTN is hoping that President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari can help to resolve the issue.

Nhleko said that he is not aware of any plans for Zuma to address the fine in his discussions with Buhari, but that it will be in everyone’s interest that the issue is resolved.

The full report is available in the Sunday Times of 6 March 2016.

MTN responds

MTN Group’s Corporate Affairs Executive Chris Maroleng released the following statement regarding the report.

MTN concerned with accuracies reported in the media

Johannesburg – Following the announcement of our Group full year financial results for the year ended 31 December 2015 on Thursday, 3 March, MTN is very concerned about the subsequent inaccurate media reporting on some of the topics discussed with members of the media at a press briefing held after the results presentation.

The media session was addressed by Executive Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko and his senior leadership team. The team used the opportunity to address a number of topics, and engage members of the media on matters of interest to them.

MTN is thus particularly perturbed that despite the extensive engagements in the day, the media coverage around our results has been characterised by grossly inaccurate media reports and misinformation. We are disturbed by this as the issues being misrepresented are very material to our operations and stakeholders.

Of particular concern are reports attributed to our senior executives, purporting that MTN Group is planning to list in Nigeria. This is grossly inaccurate. The correct comment, as expressed by the Executive Chairman, is that MTN could consider listing the local operation, MTN Nigeria, not the Group. As a result, reports that MTN is considering a secondary listing in Nigeria are misleading.

Furthermore, the listing of MTN Nigeria, as indicated in the media briefing, remains a consideration, it is not a planned listing, as suggested in some of the media reports. Also important to correct is that the current shareholding in MTN Nigeria available for Over-The-Counter (OTC) trading constitutes approximately 10% of MTN Nigeria.

Also worrying are reports that MTN has $US22bn stuck in Nigeria. This is completely inaccurate. MTN Nigeria has the cash equivalent of approximately R24.6bn with some R26.2bn in debt implying a net debt position of R1.7bn.

MTN remains available to engage on this and related issues with members of the media, and invites those seeking clarity on any issue concerning our operations to contact us.

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MTN planning Nigeria listing: report