MTN intends to continue its preparations for an IPO on its Nigerian unit despite the country’s government fining the group $10.1 billion.
The South African operator group’s CFO Ralph Mupita told CNBC that the forthcoming IPO would be “pretty challenging and awkward, but we have got to explore other options of continuing to meet the listing requirements. We are not sitting here saying the listing is off. The listing is to remain on track”.
The hefty penalty consists of two separate charges issued to MTN. Last month, the Central Bank of Nigeria demanded a repayment of $8.1 billion which it alleged MTN had illegally repatriated. The country’s government followed this up with a tax bill of $2 billion relating to MTN activities over the past ten years.
Nigeria is MTN’s largest market, and Mupita confirmed that the operator will remain present in the country and will work to settle its bill. The operator has been aiming to launch an IPO in Nigeria since 2016 after it reached an agreement with the country’s regulator to list as part of a settlement agreement. However, it has not disclosed any details on the listing since.