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MTN offers 35% ownership to Ghanaians - Launches IPO to raise GH¢3.47 billion

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
 Mr George Andah (inset), a Deputy Minister of Communications, addressing participants in the event. Pictures: MAXWELL OCLOO
Mr George Andah (inset), a Deputy Minister of Communications, addressing participants in the event. Pictures: MAXWELL OCLOO

MTN Ghana has launched its initial public offering (IPO) to raise GH¢3.47 billion for Ghanaians to own 35 per cent of the company’s shares.

The IPO, which is offering up to 4.36 billion shares, is the biggest in the history of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).

The public share offer is expected to last for two months, starting from May 29 to July 31, 2018, after which allotments will begin, paving the way for the company to list on the GSE.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Southern, East Africa and Ghana, Mr Ebenezer Twum, said the listing of the company on the stock exchange was also to meet conditions agreed to in 2015 when it acquired the right to use a 4G spectrum that could carry high speed mobile data to customers.

“Our regulator made it a licence requirement for us which we complied with because we believe the good people of Ghana deserve the privilege of owning a part of MTN which prides itself in being the first at many things and in many spaces,” he stated.

In November 2015, MTN Ghana successfully bid for the licence from the National Communications Authority (NCA) which took effect from June 21, 2016 and is valid for a renewable period of 15 years.

The licence was awarded on condition that MTN Ghana cedes 35 per cent ownership by June 30, 2018.

New chapter

Mr Twum said the launch of MTN’s IPO reaffirmed its commitment to the country and brought optimism to the future of its business in the country.

“I have seen several phases of MTN’s growth but the single act of localisation today marks the opening of another chapter in the life of this company,” he stated.

“As we entrench our position as the leader in Ghana, we are hopeful that this transaction will have a positive impact on our local market, expanding the frontiers of inclusion,” he added.

Strategic investments

The CEO also stressed that MTN’s strategic investments, innovation and customer focus underlined its success.

“Starting from 1996 when Scancom made history by being the first company to introduce GSM technology in Ghana, the expansion began. Upon acquisition of the company in 2006, MTN inherited 2.5 million subscribers and quickly achieved the 10 millionth subscriber milestone within five years,” he noted.

“Today we are over 17 million,” he added.

He said the company had continued to lead the way with many more firsts, as it was the first in attaining national coverage in all the 10 regions, first to commercially launch 3G, mobile money and nationwide 4G mobile service.

Contribution to economy

Touching on MTN’s contribution to the Ghanaian economy, Mr Twum said the layer of value creation behind its business was enormous, as it had more than 200,000 retailers, with its mobile money service contributing significantly to employment creation, with jobs for over 100,000 merchants who received over GH¢19.6 billion as commission in 2017.

He said the company also paid GH¢1.22 billion in taxes to the government in 2017.

“Out of our profits, The MTN Ghana Foundation is well resourced to continue to invest in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment,” he said.

Available spectrum

A Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr George Andah, for his part, said the fulfilment of the 4G condition by MTN Ghana was a demonstration of mutual collaboration between the company and the country and good corporate governance, which he said would further deepen the company’s commitment to the Ghanaian telecom market.

He pointed out that there was still some spectrum available and urged telecom companies who were interested in further enhancing their operations to take advantage of it.

“It is our hope, as a government, that this journey will be fruitful to all parties,” he said.