MTN. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
London - MTN [JSE:MTN] is focused on laying the groundwork for an initial public
offering (IPO) of its Nigerian business and should complete the process in
the next six months, chief executive officer
Rob Shuter said.
“We have a lot of advisers running around getting everything ready,”
he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. “It’s a
complicated process and there’s a lot of regulation that needs to be
arranged. We are moving forward well with the project and anticipate
concluding that in the next six months or so.”
MTN agreed to the Lagos IPO as part of the settlement of a $1bn
fine imposed by Nigerian regulators on MTN in 2015. Africa’s biggest
wireless operator by sales incurred the penalty after missing a deadline
to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown in the
west African country.
Since then, the CEO said he’s been “pleased” with
MTN’s operation in Nigeria, the biggest of the Johannesburg-based
company’s 22 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
Shuter, 50, joined MTN in March after holding executive roles at
Vodafone in Europe. He is the permanent replacement for Sifiso
Dabengwa, who resigned after the Nigerian fine was imposed. Chairperson
Phuthuma Nhleko had run the company in the interim period.
MTN names Vodafone executive as CEO in wake of Nigeria fine
MTN’s two other main countries are Iran and South Africa. In the
former, Shuter said the company isn’t “holding back” on expansion plans
even as US President
Donald Trump objects to the terms of a nuclear deal that led to the
lifting of economic sanctions last year.
MTN has about 49.5 million
customers in Iran, just under Nigeria’s 50.3 million., and has
repatriated almost $1bn from the country in the last 12 months.
“We are putting a lot of investment into the ground in Irancell,”
Shuter said. “There is a huge demand for mobile data there, its one of
our fastest growing data markets. It is business as usual.”
MTN has no immediate plans to expand into new countries, and is
instead focused on improving operations in existing markets, which
include conflict areas such as Afghanistan and South Sudan, according to
The company needs to “build what we need to and get our networks into
shape,” Shuter said. “In months to come I think there will be an
opportunity to participate in the consolidation of the market.”
MTN shares rose 0.2% to R122.96 as of 10:53 in
Johannesburg, valuing the company at R231bn.
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