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SEC clarifies MTN listing on NSE

Motolani Oseni

Acting Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Mary Uduk, has explained that there is no formal application by MTN Nigeria that could initiate the proposed listing of the telecommunication giant on the Nigerian stock market.

MTN Nigeria had announced plans to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) come June 2019 by an introduction.

Speaking to the newsmen after the meeting of the first quarter (Q1) Capital Market Committee (CMC) in Lagos, Acting DG, noted that there is an established due process for listing and issuance of securities in the Nigerian capital market which forms the basis for regulatory consideration.

Uduk stated that while there had been some engagements with the telco, MTN Nigeria has not filed any formal application with the apex capital market regulator.

According to her, “There is no formal application as at now, until when they file an application that is when we will know what method of listing they want.”

She stressed the fact that though MTN recently had decided to come into the market to list its shares by way of introduction, but had issues to settle with the federal government, which has imposed different fines on the telco and then after can begin the process for listing and issuance of securities.

The Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr Fordi Moolman, early in the month said, “MTN plans to list by an introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange during the first half of 2019 and is looking to simplify the capital structure ahead of this listing.

“The company’s listing on the exchange will create a new telecoms asset class for investors and provide an opportunity for a wider group of Nigerians to participate in our investment story.”

Given the success recorded by the dematerialization of shares of listed companies in the capital market, the CMC was advocating that the exercise is extended to shares of unlisted companies.

Uduk thus acknowledged that the Dematerialization exercise was successful, however, the implementation of this initiative was restricted to shares of listed companies.

Consequently, the CMC is advocating for the extension of the exercise to shares of unlisted public companies as this would enhance liquidity and ease market processes, enhances market dynamism, and decision making in securities investment, among others.

According to Uduk, “Dematerialization is the process of converting physical shares into electronic format. The Investor surrenders his physical shares and in turn, gets electronic shares in his demat account.

“The advantages of dematerialization are many: it enables the investor to trade at any time without necessarily passing through the bottlenecks of verifying the share certificates any longer, because the shares are now domiciled with CSCS, he can give a mandate to his broker at any time and the broker accesses the Exchange that same day and trade for him.”

Uduk also disclosed that the market advocated for the Commission to take strong actions against Company secretaries who aid the trade of shares of an unlisted public company outside SEC recognized platform as required by the law.

“The market was also informed of some successes recorded thus far in the regularization of multiple share subscription. Through this exercise, some Nigerian investors in the diaspora have been able to consolidate their shareholding accounts.

Similarly, several local investors with numerous accounts have also been able to consolidate their investments.

“We, therefore, enjoin the general public to take advantage of this initiative to regularize their shareholding accounts before the December 31, 2019 deadline.

We crave the indulgence of the ladies and gentlemen of the press to sensitize the public on this initiative”, she stated.