MTN Group said on Friday it will list the shares of its local unit MTN Nigeria on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as part of the settlement with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), after being fined $5.2billion in October last year, for missing the deadline to disconnect 5.1m unregistered subscribers. The NCC's initial fine of $5.2 billion was later reduced to $3.9billion but on Friday, NCC agreed that MTN will only pay $1.67billion (N330 billion), about a third of the original fine of $5.2billion. While Executive chairman of the MTN Group Phuthuma Nhleko has said that MTN would not lose control of its Nigerian subsidiary when the company is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the listing is said to take off "as soon as commercially and legally possible". He said the fine, to be settled over three years, would be paid through MTN Nigeria’s cash flows and not by the group’s.
In an earlier reaction to MTN being listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Sir Sunny Nwosu, the National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria ( ISAN), said the move will change a lot of things in the capital market, urging the company to make the stock reachable to small investors. "Although, the capital market is for the capitalists but the more the merrier" Nwosu said the listing will deepen capitalisation of the market and expose it to the international market as "it then means that the profile of the market will move up a little bit. And that will encourage other multinationals to come into the market. Other details of the NCC deal revealed by a statement made available by the NCC, showed that the fine's balance of N280Billion will be made in six batches over a three year period following the “goodwill” payment of N50 billion earlier made by MTN to the government. Firstly, MTN will pay N30Billion into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10, 2016, after which N30 billion will be paid on March 31, 2017, then N55 Billion will be made on March 31, 2018, another N55 billion on December 31, 2018 and the balance of N110 billion will be in May 31, 2019.
The settlement deal was signed by Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar G.Danbatta, NCC Commission Secretary, Mr. Felix Adeoye, Chief Executive of MTN, Fredinand (Fredi) Moolman and MTN’s Company Secretary, Mrs. Uto Ukpanah, and witnessed by Mr. Tony Ojobo, NCC, Director, Public Affairs; Mr. Usman Malah, Chief of Staff to the EVC, NCC; Ms Helen Obi, Assistant Director, Legal, NCC and Ms. Amina Oyagbola, Corporate Executive, MTN. The release from the NCC undersigned by the it's Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo also noted that MTN agreed to "Tender an apology in line with the apology previously tendered in correspondences relating to this matter to the Government of Nigeria and Nigerians within the one month of the execution of this agreement; and Subscribe to the voluntary observance of the Code of Corporate Governance for the Telecoms Industry and would ensure compulsory compliance when the said Code is made mandatory for the telecommunications industry"