Telecoms company, the MTN Group Limited, is focused on laying the groundwork for an initial public offering of its Nigerian business and should complete the process in the next six months, its Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter, said on Wednesday.
“We have a lot of advisers running around and getting everything ready,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“It’s a complicated process and there’s a lot of regulation that needs to be arranged. We are moving forward well with the project and anticipate concluding that in the next six months or so,” Shuter explained.
MTN agreed to the IPO as part of the settlement of a $1bn fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission on it in 2015.
The firm, which is Africa’s biggest wireless operator by sales, incurred the penalty after missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown in the country. Since then, the CEO said he had been “pleased” with MTN’s operation in Nigeria, the biggest of the Johannesburg-based company’s 22 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
In January this year, the NSE said it was working “very closely” with MTN on the listing of its shares in the country’s bourse.
“The pressure on MTN has never been higher to list,” the NSE Chief Executive Officer, Oscar Onyema, told a business conference then, adding, “There’s a project team working with them.”
Onyema said he expected MTN’s listing to drive the IPO market, which has virtually slowed down in the past year.
MTN had appointed Stanbic IBTC Capital, Standard Bank of South Africa and Standard Advisory London, and Citigroup Global Markets, as joint transaction advisors and global coordinators, with Stanbic acting as the lead issuer.
Shuter joined MTN in March after holding executive roles at Vodafone Group Plc in Europe. He is the permanent replacement for Sifiso Dabengwa, who resigned after the Nigerian fine was imposed. The Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, had run the company in the interim period.
MTN’s two other main countries are Iran and South Africa. In the former, Shuter said the company was not “holding back” on expansion plans even as the United States President, Donald Trump, objected to the terms of a nuclear deal that led to the lifting of economic sanctions last year.
MTN has about 49.5 million customers in Iran, just under Nigeria’s 50.3 million, and has repatriated almost $1bn from the country in the last 12 months.
“We are putting a lot of investment into the ground in Irancell. There is a huge demand for mobile data there, and it’s one of our fastest growing data markets. It is business as usual,” Shuter added.