MTN Nigeria listing that was forced by the telecoms regulator, has opened new opportunities for the economy, according to the agency’s chief.
The listing of MTN Nigeria owned by South Africa’s MTN Group is part of deals reached after an unprecedented fine imposed on the telecoms company by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for unregistered subscriber lines.
The listing deal was because of NCC’s “effective regulatory action” taken during the settlement agreement in 2016 that compelled MTN Nigeria to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC says.
Danbatta who reviews the gains of what he cites as a mix of stringent regulatory posture, proactive regulation and timely intervention says that with the listing of MTN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, “a new vista of opportunity has been created in the history of telecommunications industry in Nigeria.”
Gains of MTN Nigeria listing
In financial terms, market analysts report that MTN investors “have raked in approximately N1 trillion in price appreciation and dividends since April 2020”, Danbatta says.
He says the regulatory action taken to facilitate the listing of MTN Nigeria on the local stock exchange continues to yield economic gains to Nigeria and Nigerians by boosting market capitalisation and yielding dividends to shareholders.
“The listing was one of the outcomes of the NCC’s stringent regulatory posture, which served as tonic for other telcos such as Airtel to follow the same direction”, he says.
NCC worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the banking industry regulator to facilitate in “the landmark listing of the country’s largest telecommunications operator on the bourse.”
According to Danbatta, “this is in line with its mandate to promote investment, create a level-playing field for all licensees, ensure compliance to existing telecoms laws and facilitate delivery of top-notch quality of service (QoS) to consumers.”
He says regulatory action enabled Nigerians “to partly, own, manage and control MTN.”
Danbatta says the listing has helped to translate into action, an important objective of the Commission to promote local investment and ownership in the telecoms sector.
“With MTN shares available in the capital market, it is expected that Nigerians will buy shares and by purchasing the shares of MTN, they will be financially empowered and be socially transformed,” he says.
Telecoms is a capital-intensive industry that requires continuous investment and the listing will enable the telecoms companies to raise capital for the expansion of their networks.
“Also, one of the benefits of listing on the NSE is that telcos have enormous opportunity for raising more capital for network expansion, which will, in turn, bring about improvement in the quality of service delivery and quality of experience for telecom consumer”, he adds.
That is why “today, the capital market regulator and shareholder bodies have commended the effort of the NCC in making the capital market more resilient through the Commission’s regulatory action in facilitating telcos listing.”
He says the listing in the stock exchange will promote liquidity amongst operators, enhance their value as well as promote transparency.
“The Commission is committed, through its regulatory policies and actions, to creating the right environment to attract both Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) and local investment into the telecom industry for increased economic prosperity for Nigerians,” Danbatta says.
Ferdi Moolman, CEO of MTN Nigeria said following the MTN Nigeria listing that flagged off May 16 last year that “the listing by introduction 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 MTN Nigeria CEO, “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.”