MTN IPO Chalks Up Industry First

The country’s largest mobile telecom operator, MTN, has launched its initial public offer (IPO) as part of the company’s aim to allow Ghanaians acquire A stake in its highly profitable business – becoming first in the telecommunications industry to place on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).

MTN’s Vice President for Southern, East Africa and Ghana region, Ebenezer Asante, said the IPO marks the opening of a new chapter in the company’s life – which has been operating in the country since 1996.

The launch of the IPO yesterday means that the public can now buy shares in the company at a cost of GH¢0.75 and a minimum of 10 shares per purchase. The shares can be bought at selected banks as well as on MTN mobile money.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Asante said the move to list on the local bourse reaffirms the company’s commitment to the country as he believes Ghanaians deserve the privilege of owning a part of MTN.

“If there is anything we can call a success that we are inviting you to consider during the IPO, it is our consistent commitment to our brand promise given to the customers we are so privileged to serve,” he said.

Mr. Asante argued that the company is well-positioned to benefit from the progressive turnaround of Ghana’s economic fortunes – citing the country’s status as the second-largest and fastest-growing economy in West Africa, relatively stable currency, and declining inflation.

“Growth and innovation in Ghana’s telecom industry, which has been ranked the most attractive place for telecom investment by BMI Research, will continue to be driven by steady capital, investment, sustained migration to the high-speed 4G network, accelerated data growth, market consolidation and an increase in mobile financial services such as mobile money and mobile banking, just to mention a few,” he added.

The company’s move to list on the GSE is a prerequisite imposed on it by the regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA) in 2015, when it purchased the 4G licence that powers high-speed Internet.

The 4.6 billion shares being sold out to the public constitute about 35 percent equity of the company. MTN is targeting about GH¢3.5billion from the IPO. The offer, which went live yesterday, is expected to end on July 31, 2018, with all listing formalities closed on September 5, 2018.

Stakeholder collaboration

Board Chairman of MTN Ismael Yamson, who spoke at the event, reiterated the power inherent in the industry to change the country’s fortunes. According to him, government and mobile operators must regularly be seen dialoguing as that bodes well for all stakeholders,

He said mobile telecom operators can only survive when the country also does the same; thus, the regulator must be in constant touch with operators to ascertain what their needs are so as to ensure the industry’s health is always as its optimum best.

The launch of the IPO, he said, comes as good news to all Ghanaians – who now stand a chance of buying into one of the most profitable businesses in the country, and to some extent in the entire sub-region.

He stated that the move by MTN Ghana is an example worth emulating by others operating within the telecoms industry.

MTN’s numbers

The company currently has more than 17.8 million voice subscribers, representing 47.6 percent market share, as well as 12 million data subscribers – representing 56.5 percent market share.

In the mobile money market, its 11.6 million registered users constitute more than 85 percent of the market share and it also controls about 94 percent of all balance on float in mobile money wallets.