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MTN becomes first operator to list in Rwanda

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MTN has become the first mobile operator to list its shares on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE).

The new public company, renamed MTN Rwandacell PLC, was listed on Tuesday and now Rwandans can for the first time invest directly in the country's biggest mobile operator.

MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Ng'ambi said the listing was a major milestone for the company and that she was proud of MTN's journey in Rwanda over the past 23 years.

"We are honoured to be the first telecommunications network provider in Rwanda to be listed on the RSE. We are committed to further establishing our presence, expanding our connectivity, driving digital inclusion and contributing to the sector and economy," she said.

Minority shareholder Crystal Telecom's shareholders now hold a direct 20% stake in MTN Rwanda and can trade their MTN Rwanda shares on the RSE.

MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Ng'ambi.
MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Ng'ambi.

MTN Group president and CEO Ralph Mupita said the listing demonstrated MTN's commitment to the East African country.

"This listing will assist in deepening the Rwandan capital markets by broadening public ownership over time and will also establish the basis for a new and emerging telecoms and technology asset class on the exchange," he said.

Last month Connecting Africa reported that the listing would take place on May 4, 2021, after MTN announced its plans to list back in December 2020 as a way to increase local ownership in Rwanda.

The operator already has local listings in Nigeria and Ghana and its primary listing is on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in South Africa.

"MTN Rwanda joining the Rwanda Stock Exchange as we celebrate 10 years of operations as an Exchange is another big milestone for our market. We hope that the powerful brand recognition brought by MTN Rwanda on the market will attract more private sector companies both locally and internationally to join the market and enjoy the benefits of listed companies," said Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, CEO of the Rwanda Stock Exchange.

The Rwanda listing values the operator's local business at almost $365 million. The MTN Group's market cap on the JSE is worth about R168.5 billion ($11.6 billion), according to Bloomberg data.

Statistics from market research company Omdia show that MTN controls about 59% market share in Rwanda.

MTN has been operating in Rwanda since 1998 and at the end of December 2020, MTN had 6 million subscribers in the country.

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*Top image source: Background vector created by tartila - www.freepik.com.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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