South African telecommunications firm, MTN, yesterday moved closer to the planned listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), by formally submitting an application to that effect with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Confirming the submission of application, SEC said it has received an application from MTN requesting for registration of their existing securities.
In a statement signed by the spokesperson of the Commission, Efe Ebelo, made available to The Guardian, SEC said: “SEC can confirm that we are in receipt of an application from MTN requesting for registration of their existing securities.
“They have applied for listing by introduction which will enable the company to be listed and allow shareholders sell their shares on the floor of the exchange. Their application is presently receiving attention.”
In line with the planned share listing, MTN, which controls 37.8 per cent of Nigeria’s telecoms market and services 65.6 million customers, had a fortnight ago, had completed its conversion from a private company to a public company (Plc).
The telecommunications firm explained that the conversion is a legal requirement, and key milestone preparatory to its listing on the NSE, which it scheduled before second quarter of 2019.
Listing on the NSE was one of the conditions reached in the resolution of a N330-billion fine placed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for its inability to disconnect improperly registered SIM cards.
Speaking on the issue in a telephone chat with The Guardian, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, described it as a welcoming development for the economy.
Citing two reasons, Teniola said the move showed that the country now have the first example of a mobile network operator listing on the NSE, “as this sets a good precedent for other telecoms companies in Nigeria to follow suit.
He said: “It is also evident that the NSE welcomes the introduction of MTN that is one of the first N1 trillion revenue companies to list on the Stock Exchange. This provides an opportunity for the valuation of this company to network, dilute and rebrand the elevation of other stocks and shares in other sectors on the NSE, to reflect more equities in the capital market.
“In general, we are happy that MTN will possibly be providing its shares to the wider public later on in the year for an average Nigerians to partake in the success of the transformation of MTN and the ICT industry, which will make it the most critical sector growing the GDP of the country and ensuring the future for the youths of the country.”
Similarly, the Managing Director, HighCap Securities, David Adonri, said: “Listing of MTN on the NSE is a dream come true. This will remarkably deepen the capital market, and enable more Nigerians to share in the enormous wealth they are creating in the country.
“MTN occupies a commanding height in the Nigerian economy. Its yearly turnover is over N1 trillion. The telecoms firms listing will remarkably reduce the dominance of Dangote Cement, and make the market more perfect. The successful listing will enhance the capacity of the Capital Market to serve as true barometer for the economy. It will also encourage many other large enterprises like Globacom, Airtel, Shell, and NNPC to be listed.”
Also a stockbroker with Deloit Securities Limited, Tunde Oyediran, said the listing by introduction is a way of “restricting every Tom, Dick and Harry from investing in a stock. The little made available is what the market will run with. However, it is a welcome development; after all, some companies routed this path when they came to the market.”
The Publicity Secretary, the Independent Shareholders Association, Moses igbrude, said: “it is good news and a welcome development. It will deepen the market as well as raise market capitalisation of the Exchange. It will also open the door for other Telcoms to follow suit, as listing their shares will make Nigeria see them as Nigerians.”
Also commenting, Kehinde Aluko, a telecoms expert, said MTN’s listing on The NSE will create a new telecoms asset class for investors, and provide a wider group of Nigerians with a chance to participate in the new investment opportunity.
At the weekend, in what could be described as part of the strategy for the listing, MTN Group announced the appointment of His Royal Highness, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano, to its Board of Directors effective July 2019.
The telecommunications firm also listed Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, a former African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs and former Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea as a board member.