Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


MTN's Nigeria IPO Looks to Be Back On Track

Article Image
Following a tough few months of financial stand-off between MTN and the regulatory and banking authorities in Nigeria, the prospects for the long-mooted public listing of shares in MTN Nigeria once again look to be favorable.

According to a report by Nairametrics, Oscar Onyema, the CEO of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), said "MTN listing will have a significant positive impact on the market. It will give investors something new and exciting to participate in." Onyema, who was commenting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, added: "It will give their subscribers an opportunity to take an ownership stake in the company, and, therefore, continue to do business with them."

The proposed listing of MTN's Nigerian operation has been long in the making. However, exactly two years ago, at Davos, Phuthuma Nhleko, MTN's then chairman and acting CEO, unofficially shelved the plan, saying the market conditions were not conducive to an IPO. Instead of the original plan to float the business in 2017, he told the media: "It's a work in progress and hopefully within the 12 to 18-month period we will be able to do it. Regulatory issues need to be resolved, and the macro conditions need to have improved."

Then, last year, those conditions deteriorated further for MTN, as the operator found itself in a dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which was accusing the mobile operator of improperly repatriating US$8.1 billion worth of dividend payment out of the country between 2007 and 2015. The disagreement culminated in MTN taking the CBN, as well as the Attorney General's Office, to the Federal High Court in October 2018. (See MTN Goes to Court Over $10B Demands in Nigeria.)

After a series of meetings to resolve the issues, mediated by the monetary policy committee, the parties reached a settlement in late December whereby MTN agreed to pay a "notional reversal" of $52.6 million. In return, the CBN put measures in place to ensure similar disputes would not arise in the future. Referring to the settlement, MTN stated: "MTN Nigeria provided additional material documentation which satisfactorily clarified its remittances. The CBN upon review of the additional documentation concluded that MTN Nigeria is no longer required to reverse the historical dividend payments made to MTN Nigeria shareholders." (See MTN Settles $8.1B Spat with Central Bank of Nigeria.)

This looks to be bringing the latest chapter of MTN's run-in with the Nigerian authorities to a relatively amiable ending. It is far from being MTN's worst hit in its 17 years in Nigeria: In 2015, the operator was fined $5.2 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect inadequately registered SIM cards on its network. MTN managed to negotiate a sum of $1.7 billion to be paid in installments. The final installment will be paid in May 2019.

Meanwhile, MTN is facing problems elsewhere in its empire: The operator reported this week that three of its senior executives have been deported from Uganda, a development about which the company is "understandably concerned."

— Wei Shi, Site Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Customer experience is telco's next 'battleground'

South African social data and insights company BrandsEye thinks its unique blend of AI and human intelligence could help Africa's telcos face a battleground around customer service.


Liquid, Project Taara beam broadband across Congo River

Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Alphabet's Project Taara have found a way to bridge a particularly stubborn connectivity gap between Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo and Kinshasa in the DRC.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: August 2021

By Omdia Analysts

Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about MTN's decision to exit Syria and not bid again for an Ethiopian license, as well as 5G news from Mauritius, Ghana, Mayotte and Reunion.


Research Bites: Blockchain potential for SA agriculture

By Roberto Mavilia and Roberta Pisani

This article, in collaboration with the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development explores how blockchain can be used in the agricultural sector to help improve production and distribution processes.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Digital Skills Enhancing Human Capital

As nations begin to look beyond the crisis of COVID-19 to the new future of work, an opportunity to leverage this disruption as a powerful catalyst for positive change exists – one that could reshape the future and provide more accessible, fair, and impactful digital education and training.

In this webinar, we focus on how digital skills can enhance human capital and help realise the extraordinary potential of intelligent, 4IR-ready African workforces.

Key topics include:

  • Importance of having more than basic digital skills – upskilling & reskilling
  • Championing access to online educational resources – affordable and reliable internet, electricity and hardware
  • Future career options for industry specific roles: Cloud, AI, industrial IoT, big data analytics
  • Education 4.0: How updating educational curricula is key for growth
  • The importance of progressive, industry-driven educational policy frameworks

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up