MTN received approval to list its Nigeria unit on the country’s stock exchange, with the process set to begin later today (16 May), valuing the business at around $5 billion.

In a statement, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) said the operator would list as an introductory offering, with more than 20.3 million shares priced at NGN90 ($0.25) apiece. An introductory offering means all shares of existing MTN Nigeria shareholders will be listed without an additional public sale, enabling holders to trade on NSE.

Bloomberg reported the listing is part of the group’s plan to sell down a partial amount of its majority 79 per cent of the unit. Nigeria is South Africa-based MTN’s largest unit.

The listing has been in the works for more than three years, as part of a settlement of a dispute with Nigerian regulators in 2016, which also saw the company fined around $1 billion.

However, the process has been delayed and questions had been raised over whether it would even take place, as the company ran into more issues with the government over the past year. MTN settled a row over improperly repatriated funds in January, while a claim for $2 billion in backdated taxes continues to rumble on.

In its own statement, MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman said the introductory offer was “just the beginning” and it intended to pursue an IPO in future, “giving more Nigerians greater access to the MTN opportunity”.