FEBRUARY 7, 2018 – MTN Group Ltd. plans to raise about $500 million from the sale of shares in its Nigerian business during the first half of the year, fulfilling the terms of a deal struck with the West African nation to settle a record fine, according to people familiar with the matter.
Discussions are ongoing and a final decision hasn’t been made, they said.
The stock extended gains, and traded 4.5 percent higher at 128.83 rand as of the close in Johannesburg, giving a market value of 243 billion rand ($20 billion).
If successful, the Lagos share sale will be the biggest on the Nigerian Stock Exchange after Starcomms Plc, which raised $796 million when it listed in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MTN, Nigeria’s biggest mobile-phone company with just over 50 million subscribers as of end September, slumped to a loss in 2016 as it absorbed the financial impact of the fine, though said last month it returned to profit the following year.
Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African governments are trying to gain more from international mobile-phone operators taking advantage of rising smartphone use and faster data speeds. MTN has also agreed to sell shares in Ghana as one of the conditions of a deal to gain spectrum rights, while Vodacom Group Ltd., South Africa’s market leader, was ordered to list 25 percent of its Tanzanian business last year, raising $213 million.