MTN opened an IPO for 35 per cent of its Ghana business, while separate reports emerged dampening expectations for the company’s float of its Nigeria operation.
The operator group has long been expected to IPO both its Nigeria and Ghana businesses by the end of the year, a goal said to be on track by Group CEO Rob Shuter at the company’s earnings call in early May.
Its Ghana IPO was imposed by the country’s authorities as part of the terms of its 4G licence in a bid to increase local ownership of major companies operating in Ghana.
As a result the float has been marketed to appeal to investors from within the country and just five per cent of the new shares were available to international investors, MTN Group CFO Ralph Mupita confirmed at the launch event.
MTN Ghana CEO Ebenezer Asante added the ability to buy shares through its mobile money platform would increase the appeal of the IPO to citizens, noting: “people the length and breadth of the country do not need to know where the Ghana Stock Exchange is located, they have the Ghana Stock Exchange on their phones.”
In its prospectus, the company said it was the leading operator in Ghana with 17.83 million subscribers and a market share of 55 per cent as of the end of December 2017. It hopes to receive a total of GHS3.48 billion ($747 million) for the 35 per cent stake.
In the hours prior to the launch of the MTN Ghana IPO, a spokesperson from MTN Nigeria was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria calming expectation on the progress of its IPO in that country.
The spokesperson reportedly said the company was still “perfecting” the details and quashed earlier reports it was expecting to receive $500 million from the float – stating no value or specific timeline had been confirmed.