The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), MTN Nigeria, Ralph Mupita has made known the telco’s plan to explore other means of trading its shares aside from being a listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Though the decision is yet to be finalised. Mupita maintained that the new share unbundling idea is a work in progress.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Mupita said the multinational company is currently facing a combined $10 billion in claims from Nigerian authorities and may no longer seek to raise capital through an initial public offering on the NSE. The implementation of the long-anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) of MTN Communications Nigeria Limited came under skepticism due to the $10.1 billion demand by the Nigerian authorities.
Mupita used the phrase “pretty challenging and awkward” to describe the IPO during an interview in South Africa. This development is a confirmation of the growing worries in the company over the IPO as reported by Nairametrics. Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) late last month demanded that MTN Group Limited return the sum of $8.1 billion which it was alleged to have illegally repatriated to South Africa from its Nigerian operation between 2006 and 2016.
But the company is yet to comply with the CBN demand, even as it continues to claim innocence. Meanwhile, as though to compound MTN’s troubles, the office of Nigeria’s Attorney General made known its intentions to recover the sum of $2 billion from MTN which it claims the telco owes in back taxes. This too was denied by the company’s management.
The telco’s decision to reconsider listing its shares in the Nigerian Capital Market, through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), is a direct fallout of its lingering disputes with the Nigerian authorities (its biggest market) that wiped out more than a third of the company’s market value over three weeks.
MTN pledged to list the shares after being fined $1 billion for not disconnecting SIM cards two years ago.
Mupita, however, disclosed that MTN may complete its listing by the end of this year or first quarter of 2019, saying this is irrespective of the dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the repatriation of $8.1 billion out of Nigeria and a separate tussle over $2 billion in back taxes.