A man passes an MTN board in Lagos, Nigeria. Picture: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
A man passes an MTN board in Lagos, Nigeria. Picture: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

MTN’s Nigerian business, which accounts for a third of the group’s profits, will list in that market on Thursday, the mobile operator says.

The company has opted for a “listing by introduction”, meaning that the shares of existing MTN Nigeria shareholders will be listed without an additional public sale of shares.

A public offering will be made at a later stage, MTN has said previously.

“We appreciate the continued support afforded to us by the government, regulators and people of this great nation,” said MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman.

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The group’s Nigerian business has had a number of run-ins with regulators, and remains in a tussle with the country’s attorney-general over allegedly unpaid taxes worth $2bn.

The operator recently paid $53m to settle a money-transfer dispute with the state’s central bank.

MTN agreed to a listing in Nigeria as part of an earlier fine for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards in the country.

“As MTN Group we are very pleased that we are taking this first and important step towards increasing the local ownership of the company, and building the equity capital markets in Nigeria,” said MTN Group CFO Ralph Mupita.

MTN Nigeria’s earnings in the first quarter ended March showed a 13.4% increase in service revenue.

About 2.1-million active mobile subscribers were added to the network.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za