MTN Nigeria has received approval to list on the Premium Board of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
According to a statement released by the company the listing is set to proceed on 16 May 2019 and will be done by way of an introductory listing.
This means that the shares of existing MTN Nigeria shareholders will be listed without an additional public sale of shares. From this point, all MTN Nigeria shareholders will be free to trade their shares on the NSE, according to the company.
Ferdi Moolman, chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria said "It gives me great pleasure to confirm that the official listing via introduction of MTN's shares on the NSE will take place on Thursday May 16."
"We appreciate the continued support afforded us by the government, regulators and people of this great nation. In particular, I would like to thank the staff and management of MTN Nigeria who worked tirelessly to make this day possible. This is just the beginning, we still intend to pursue a future Public Offer giving more Nigerians greater access to the MTN opportunity."
MTN Group chief financial officer CFO, Ralph Mupita said "As MTN Group we are very pleased that we are taking this first and important step towards increasing the local ownership of the company, and building the equity capital markets in Nigeria"
MTN Nigeria recently announced its earnings for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 recording 13.4% growth in service revenue. This was driven by a 12.7% and 32.4% rise in voice and data revenue respectively and the addition of 2.1 million active mobile subscribers to the network.
The company announced Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of N150.4-billion and expanded EBITDA margins to 53.3% (44.2%, on an IAS 17 basis) "due to growth in revenue and effective cost management."
At the same time MTN Nigeria remains embroiled in an ongoing tax battle with the country's attorney general of the federation (AGF).
In December 2018, MTN agreed to make an almost $53 million payment to resolve the dispute. At the time, it said MTN Nigeria and the CBN had agreed it would pay a notional reversal amount of $52.6 million, without admission of liability. This was for a 2008 private placement remittance worth around $1 billion that the CBN found was based on certificates that did not have final approval.
However, this did not settle the tax issue with the Nigerian attorney general, who is demanding $2 billion (R29 billion) in taxes relating to the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers since 2008.
MTN went to court seeking to block the attorney general from taking further action regarding the order for back taxes.
The matter is schedule to be heard on 26 June after the Federal High Court ruled to dismiss the application by the AGF in response to the lawsuit.