MTN CEO Rob Shuter has stated he expects the group’s initial public offering (IPO) of its Nigerian unit to be complete within six months, given the progress of preparations.
Shuter noted that a large amount of regulation made the process “complicated”, but added that it was “moving forward well”. MTN is the largest operator in Nigeria, and the market is MTN’s largest across its 22 country base.
MTN’s Nigerian IPO came about as part of its settlement with regulators in the country after the group incurred a colossal fine in 2015 for failing to comply with security measures. The government had mandated that operators must disconnect unregistered SIMs in a bid to curb terrorism, and MTN failed to meet the deadline for doing so.
The operator settled the dispute in June 2016 with the offer of an IPO, as well as paying part of the original fine. At the time, MTN said it would take “immediate steps” towards listing share on the Nigerian stock exchange, with an IPO expected at some point in 2017 following a consultation in November 2016 with the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission.
Shuter also stated that MTN would not “hold back” on increasing its presence in its other two largest markets – Iran and South Africa. The group has almost 50 million subscribers in Iran, and a nuclear trade deal in 2016 saw economic sanctions against the nation lifted.
“We are putting a lot of investment into the ground in Irancell,” said Shuter. “There is a huge demand for mobile data there; it’s one of our fastest growing data markets. It is business as usual.”