JOHANNESBURG - MTN plans to list 30 percent of its Nigerian shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Share sales will bring in R6-billion for the telecommunications company.
The listing is linked to an agreement reached with authorities to settle a $1-billion fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unsubscribed users.
MTN told eNCA it could not divulge too much about the settlement agreement, but the listing would take place this year.
Telecomms analyst Dobek Pater says the sale of shares is a positive move.
“If the growth remains positive and the Nigerian stock exchange continues to grow and MTNs operations in Nigeria continue to grow, there should be a demand for those shares. Growing the value of those shares. So theoretically growing the value of those shares in Nigeria could be greater with the listing on the stock exchange, or listing part of it on the stock exchange, than if they had not done it.
"From what I’ve seen the Nigerian stock exchange grew quite significantly.”
MTN is expected to return to profit for the 12 months to end-December 2017 from a net loss the year before. Africa and the Middle East's biggest cellphone operator expects to report an improvement of at least 20 percent in headline earnings per share.
The group’s negative performance in 2016 was mainly as a result of non-recurring costs, including those related to the Nigerian fine.
Pater said the listing would also help MTN’s image.
“Even though MTN is the biggest tax contributor, the biggest employer, the biggest company in Nigeria ...the fact that it will now be partially owned by Nigerians I think will improve its image and will benefit MTN from that perspective," he said.
Most of the shares will be sold to Nigerian institutions and individuals.