MTN said on Tuesday after markets closed that it will proceed with the listing of MTN Zakhele, the telecommunications group’s broad-based black economic empowerment scheme, as planned this Thursday.
The sharp depreciation in the value of MTN securities in the past week, triggered by news of a massive, US$5,2bn fine imposed on its Nigerian subsidiary by a regulator there, had sparked concern that the group could be forced to postpone the Zakhele listing to a later date.
“The listing of MTN Zakhele’s ordinary shares as asset-backed securities on the BEE segment of the main board of the JSE … will proceed on 5 November 2015,” MTN said in a statement released via the stock exchange news service (Sens).
It said MTN Zakhele shareholders should take note of the cautionary announcement the group issued related to its discussions with Nigerian authorities, which it is hoping will lead to a reduction in the quantum of the fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission. The fine is by far the largest ever imposed on a telecoms operator in Africa.
In a separate statement to Sens, MTN said it “continues to engage constructively with Nigerian authorities at all levels”. It repeated that a report, in the Nigerian publication Vanguard, that it had agreed to pay the full fine was not accurate. The report had sent MTN shares into a tailspin on Monday morning, losing 10% of their value at one point, before the JSE ordered a temporary halt to trading.
In the statement, MTN also said: “It is also important to note that MTN has operated in Nigeria for over a decade. In this time, and as in the other markets where we have a presence, MTN has conducted its business in accordance with established principles related to sound corporate governance.
“As a company which owes its founding and growth to the emerging world, we are conscious of our responsibility to invest in the growth of local economies and development of communities wherever we operate. Nigeria is no different. Since launching more than a decade ago, we have made significant investments in connecting customers to our network. We take these responsibilities and obligations very seriously.
“In conducting our business, MTN is always mindful that our growth has not only been due to the success of our commercial propositions. We therefore remain committed to maintaining solid partnerships with regulators, governments, communities and our markets, including in Nigeria, to build a sustainable industry that contributes to the growth of local economies.”
MTN’s share price closed up by 5% on Tuesday at R155,54. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media