Last week’s application from MTN Nigeria requesting the registration of its existing securities in the capital market has been duly approved by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Securing the regulator’s nod in this regard is a major leap by the telecom giant to becoming a public limited company.
According to the Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, “MTN sought to come to the market by way of an introduction and they wrote to the SEC last week requesting for approval to register its existing shares. That approval has now been granted”.
Anxious Nigerians are waiting impatiently for MTN shares to be listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) as they see the telecom firm as a very successful firm that guarantees good returns on investment.
Before now, MTN Nigeria had assured its customers and the Nigerian public that it will list on the Nigeria Stock Exchange by way of introduction in the first half of 2019.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, Mr Rob Shuter, disclosed this at the MTN Group’s investor update conference call that held earlier in the year.
According to him; “We have decided though to pursue the listing by means of a listing by introduction. It is phase one,” he said.
Shuter explained that the move would enable the company to get listed easily, adding that findings showed that the free float in the Nigerian market would be about 35 per cent.
Transcript of the call showed that once phase one was wrapped up by the first half of 2019, the shares would be open to Nigerian investors as part of the second phase of the listing.
“It means that we will list the company in the initial phases without any public offer or sell-down or initial public offering. I think this will enable us to get the company listed whilst the market still digests the implications of what has happened over the last few months,” Shuter said.
He added, “We will in phase two be doing a project to increase the Nigerian participation in MTN Nigeria, targeting more a free float of around 35 per cent than the free float we have today which is around 20 per cent. So, we aim to conclude at least the listing by the introduction in the first half of 2019, pretty much as soon as we can, and then subject to market conditions, appetite and demand we would in phase two do the sell-down.
Industry experts say that method would enable the company to determine the fair value of its stocks before the IPO.
They added that the telecoms company had sold some shares in the country through a special purpose vehicle, which might be converted to MTN Nigeria shares at the NSE.
The Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Stockbrokers, Mr Rotimi Fakayejo, said this meant MTN Nigeria would approach the NSE with its existing shareholders and gradually introduce the shares to the public.
On how listing by introduction works, he said, “They may likely be mandated to sell on the first day of listing and then they can start selling gradually to interested investors. They might now decide to do offer for sale, which is selling from existing shareholders to the public; they may be able to achieve the required float in the market in order for them to accelerate the process of getting listed.”