Nairametrics| Indications are emerging that the MTN Group Ltd may not embark on the listing of the shares of the Nigerian unit until 2018, a year after the previously touted 2017 date. News of this delay was further fueled by the comments of the MTN Chairman and Acting Chief Executive Officer Phuthuma Nhleko said at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“It’s a work in progress and hopefully within the 12 to 18-month period we will be able to do it. Regulatory issues need to be resolved, and the macro conditions need to have improved.” Nhleko said.

Although the company earlier agreed to list its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2017 as part of the settlement of a 330 billion naira ($1 billion) fine imposed by the government for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers, the emergence of other allegations, especially as related to the illegal movement of $14 billion out of the country has threatened to delay the process.

Added to that is the woeful performance of the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index, which lost 41 percent in dollar terms, making it the worst performer last year among 94 indexes tracked by Bloomberg.

“We’ve always intended to list — we have reaffirmed that with the government. “Clearly, we can only list when the conditions are conducive.” said Nhleko, indicating that current market conditions and the performance of the All Share Index are key reasons for the increasingly real postponement date.

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