Lagos — The MTN Group says it may put off plans to list its Nigerian operation until 2018 as Africa’s largest wireless carrier works to resolve a regulatory dispute and awaits an economic recovery in the continent’s most populous country.
Its chairman and acting chief executive officer, Phuthuma Nhleko, gave the indication weekend at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He said: “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.”
MTN agreed to list the unit in Nigeria as part of the settlement of a N330 billion fine imposed on it by the government for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers. It said in July 2016 that the listing would take place in 2017, subject to market conditions.
“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
MTN shares have lost more than a third of their value since the fine was handed down in October 2015, and the company has overhauled management and toughened up its approach to regulators as a result.
In July 2016, MTN appointed units of Citigroup and Standard Bank to advise on the Nigeria listing.