MTN Group plans to raise around $500 million through an IPO of its Nigerian unit, as part of a deal struck with the country’s regulators to settle a $1.7 billion fine, Bloomberg reported.
The operator is exploring the disposal of as much as 30 per cent of the business, which it will list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Shares will be sold mainly to local institutions and individudals, but non-domestic investors may be included in the process to ensure the IPO is a success, a source told Bloomberg.
MTN is being advised by Standard Bank Group and Citigroup and discussions are still ongoing.
The South Africa-based company, which is the largest operator in Nigeria, faced scrutiny in the country after being hit with a $1.7 billion fine in 2015 for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers, violating a security measure designed to crackdown on crime and terrorism.
It then agreed to conduct an IPO as part of its settlement with Nigerian regulators and met with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission in November 2016 to discuss the process.
Last month, MTN predicted improved annual earnings for 2017, as it bounces back from a net loss of ZAR3.1 billion ($255 million) in 2016 (its first such loss in 20 years).
In a stock market statement issued ahead of the release of its annual results in March, the company said earnings will improve due to the resolution of problems in Nigeria.