The NSE said yesterday that MTN had not contravened any of its listing rules. Photo: EPA
JOHANNESBURG – MTN Nigeria has gained R24 billion in value in four days, but investors are complaining of a lack of shares to trade.

The stock debuted at 90 nairas (R3.58) a share last Thursday, valuing the west Africa unit at 1.8 trillion naira (R71bn) and making it the second-biggest public firm on the west African bourse after Dangote Cement.

It has since risen 10 percent for the fourth day to 119.70 nairas a share on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) taking the market cap to 2.4 trillion nairas (R95.3bn).

The NSE said yesterday that MTN had not contravened any of its listing rules.

However, it said that there had been a “paucity” of MTN shares to trade in Lagos since the listing.

The NSE said that more than 105 million MTN Nigeria shares valued at 12 billion naira had been traded on the bourse by ten firms in 134 cross deals since the listing.

“Currently, no rule of the exchange compels shareholders in a listed company to tender their shares for trading. Shareholders are at liberty to trade their shares at any time and price suitable to them,” it said.

It also said its practice was to urge the companies that listed by introduction to make shares available on the day of listing.

“In the case of MTN Nigeria, the NSE had requested the company as part of the listing process to make shares available and the exchange expects the company to do that,” it said.

Stockbrokers and investors who want to be part of the transaction have, however, complained that they had been unable to trade on behalf of their clients.

“The exchange is not unconcerned about this state of affairs. Indeed, council members of the exchange urged brokers to discuss with their clients about possible sales of shares, NSE said.

MTN Nigeria company secretary Uto Ukpanah said MTN, which borrowed 200 billion nairas from seven banks to strengthen its business, was aiming to take advantage of expansion opportunities in that country.

“The new facility, when drawn down, will be used to support our medium-term capital expenditure projects, fund our working capital needs, meet operation expenditure requirements and position the company to take full advantage of expansion opportunities,” Ukpanah said.

Ukpanah also said preference shares had not been redeemed.

“After obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals, the preference shares redemption will be taken from the distributable reserves of the company and paid for with cash generated from its operations,” Ukpanah said.

Peter Takaendesa, a portfolio manager at Cape Town-based Mergence Investment Managers, said his view was that there were a lot of MTN shares that could be traded on the NSE if the ongoing dispute with the attorney-general was resolved.

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