The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Friday tasked MTN Group on official filing of Initial Public Offering (IPO) which gathered media momentum in the last couple of months.
Speaking at the commission’s second post Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in Lagos, Ms Mary Uduk, SEC Acting Director-General said that it had not received any official application from MTN despite media hype on the offer.
“Let MTN file first and the day they tell you they have filed watch us and count.
“Not what you see on the pages of newspapers. Let MTN file their application today and then watch us.
“If you like come and stay in the commission to monitor. I will make an exception. I will open the commission to the press.
“Do you understand? That is the seriousness, we deal with everything that surrounds MTN.
“Let them just file, please tell them to file and leave the heat at the side of the commission because as we speak and as far as we know, MTN is still a private company until they convert to a public company and then file application with us,’’ Uduk said.
Uduk said that the commission was ready for MTN’s application and would ensure speedy process once the application was filed.
NAN also reports that capital market operators had doubted the possibility of MTN IPO and subsequent listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) this year.
They said that the IPO may not be visible this 2018 by the way and manner MTN was handling the issue.
Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd, said that MTN was dragging the issue because of the way and manner things were handled in the country.
“I will not be surprise if they come with another excuse to shift the offer to next year as there is nothing on the ground to confirm their seriousness even though they have selected parties to the offer,’’ Kurfi said.
However, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said recently that MTN must list on the NSE on or before May 2019.
Danbatta was quoted to have said in Abuja that the company must list on or before May 2019 as contained in the agreement over the 2015 fine settlement between the regulator and the telecom company.
MTN Group had in May said it was perfecting the details of its proposed Nigeria IPO.
An official of MTN Group, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed this in response to enquiries on why the company was yet to file applications for the proposed offer.
The MTN representative said detailed process and work stream on the IPO were presently underway and would be announced at the appropriate time.
Speaking on the IPO process, the official said MTN had not made known the offer value contrary to the 500 million dollars being speculated in the media.
“To clarify some matters on the IPO process, no amount/value has been given by MTN Group or MTN Nigeria regarding the IPO and there was never a statement on a proposed 500 million dollars IPO.’’
“In the communication we have issued to the market, we have noted that we expected this IPO process to be concluded during 2018 and there was not a specific date given,” the representative said.
There were reports earlier that MTN Group Ltd was perfecting plans to raise about 500 million dollars from the sale of shares in its Nigerian business in the first half of 2018.
Standard Bank Group Ltd and Citigroup Inc. had been advising the company on the disposal of as much as 30 per cent of the Lagos-based unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
MTN had agreed to list the Nigerian unit as part of June 2016 agreement to pay one billion dollars fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown.
MTN recently appointed a Nigerian investment firm, Chapel Hill Denham, as lead manager for the planned sale of 500 million dollars shares in its Nigerian business.
It also appointed South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank, Renaissance Capital and Vetiva Capital as joint issuers to the offer.