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Market Digest Nigeria

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MTN Nigeria investment in network expansion hits N2.5trn

MTN Nigeria

The Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, Wednesday put the total value of investment made by the telecommunication company since its entrance into the Nigerian market at N2.5 trillion.

Moolman, who disclosed this during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos, said the telecom company invested N184 billion on network expansion in 2018 alone.

“You can’t achieve growth if you don’t invest in network. So, from inception to date, we have invested close to N2.5 trillion in network and last year alone, we invested N184 billion in network. Majority of these investment goes into our network and new technology.

“A large part of our success is that we kept on investing in network, even when the naira was devalued. And you need to understand the impact of that devaluation on our network because the electronic equipment we use are imported,” he said.

He reiterated plan by the telco to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) before the end of third quarter of this year.

According to Moolman, save for the disagreement MTN Nigeria had with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last year, the company would have gone ahead with its listing plan.

He explained: “There was a lot of work that we did on the listing and our target was to list in 2018. We are a private company at the moment and we need to change to a public company before we can list.

“We need to send our directors for training to comply with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange requirements to be able to list and a lot of work went on at the backend on the listing. Then, the CBN issue happened.

“The truth be told, if we had listed while the CBN issue was on, we would have been negligent. That is because we would have gone to offer our shares to the public when we had an issue at hand with the CBN that was substantial. If I remind you, they (CBN) were talking about $8 billion. “So, I can’t go and list and offer my shares to the public if I have this thing hanging over my neck. We thank God we were able to resolve this on 24th of December. “So, we are working towards the listing and we plan to do the listing before the end of first half 2019 or probably before the end of quarter three.

“So, there is a clear drive in doing the listing. It is something we have always wanted to do.”

He, however, pointed that 20 per cent of MTN Nigeria shares are currently owned by Nigerians today.

“It is just that it is not publicly traded. We trade over the counter, which is a process that Stanbic IBTC manages for us, where about 10 per cent of our shares are traded. So, it is our target to do the listing,” he said.

Moolman, disclosed that MTN Nigeria’s ‘revenue generating’ subscribers is currently at 58 million.

“If you go to the Nigerian Communications Commission website, you might see 68 million. But when we look at subscribers, we are looking at those that can generate revenue for us.

“We are not interest in subscribers that are only receiving text messages and nothing else. That is, they don’t make calls, they don’t receive calls, but just receive text messages,” he explained.

Presently, MTN Nigeria covers about 154 million Nigerians on its 3G network and 57 million persons on its 4G.

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