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MTN to sell-down 14% stake in Nigerian Unit

MTN Group Ltd is planning to raise as much as N340 billion from domestic investors as it seeks to sell down its Nigerian business. Nigerian investors currently own about 19.4 percent of MTN Nigeria, while 78.8 percent is owned by South Africa’s MTN Group.

MTN said on Thursday that it is looking to reduce majority ownership of its business in Nigeria, the carrier’s biggest and most profitable market, after the country’s attorney general (AGF) dropped a claim for $2 billion in back taxes.

Johannesburg-based MTN had earlier in 2019 listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by way of introduction, whereby it did not raise any money.

“This is just the beginning; we still intend to pursue a future Public Offer giving more Nigerians greater access to the MTN opportunity,” said Ferdi Moolman, CEO of MTN Nigeria, at the time.

About 14 percent of the Lagos-listed operation could be sold, MTN said, reducing the stake to about 65 percent.

The move will be welcomed by domestic institutional and retail investors as it will help broaden the shareholder base of the Telco firm and make its shares more liquid and engineer better price discovery.

MTN Nigeria (MTNN) closed trading flat at N120 per share on Thursday, giving it a market capitalisation of N2.4 trillion, while the Group’s shares on the Johannesburg exchange gained for the third straight day as investors cheered the company’s plans.

“There is still a cloud of worry given MTN’s experience in Nigeria,” an analyst told BusinessDay. “The tax case is not completely off but has been referred to appropriate quarters.”

MTN is raising money to pay down debt and simplify a portfolio of telecom businesses that spreads across Africa and the Middle East.

The company is also focusing investment on its main markets – including $1.6 billion for Nigeria announced on Wednesday – and is “seriously investigating” the prospect of taking part in a planned privatization of Ethiopia’s phone monopoly, according to a spokeswoman.

On Thursday, the Federal High Court in Lagos struck out an N3bn fundamental rights enforcement suit by MTN against Abubakar Malami, the AGF.

Union Bank turns gaze on women with Alpher product launch

Union Bank on Thursday launched an innovative gender-focused product targeted at women business owners and managers hoping to use learning from its unique foray into the hugely untapped SME market to beat competition.

Called ‘Alpher woman’, the product is woven around inspiring themes like “Woman enough to live her best life”; “Woman enough to earn her place”; “Woman enough to lead businesses”; “Woman enough to captain her life”, and “Woman enough to break barriers”.

Studies show that women can be reliable borrowers of funds but most lending products appear to ignore them, leaving out a significant segment of society.

Speaking at the colourful event, Union Bank CEO Emeka Emuwa said Alpher was first introduced at last year’s International Women’s Day celebrations and in the months that have passed. The service has been tested and perfected.

“We believe that Nigeria and indeed the world would be a better place if enough was done to clear the barriers women face,” Emuwa said.

Union Bank is today a major player in the SME space because it took the decision to venture long before the Central Bank’s recent push to get banks to lend more to the economy.

Speaking to BusinessDay in Davos, Emuwa said the path the bank chose to expand lending to small business has been “an interesting learning process”.

The bank says “Alpher was created to enable women to be the best versions of themselves”.

“We aim to help women on their respective journeys of greatness whether your aim is to start or expand your business, meet new people, build new partnerships or develop capacity for growth; αlpher is here to enable your success,” Union Bank said in a brief on its website.

Last night’s launch featured a number of successful female business owners who told the story of their foray into business management.

Coronavirus update: Lagos in pact with China to prevent outbreak as Chinese set to return to Nigeria

The Commissioner or health, Lagos State, Akin Abayomi has said the state is collaborating with China to prevent any incidence of Coronavirus outbreak in Lagos as Chinese that travelled to their home country prepare to return to Nigeria.

Abayomi who disclosed this on Wednesday said Lagos is prepared to prevent or contain any possible entry of the disease as well as other infectious diseases into the state.

So far total reported cases have hit 7,711 in China alone while the deadly virus has spread to 15 other countries.

SEC-approved product rekindles investors, shareholders’ hope on N130bn unclaimed dividend, missing shares

Investors and shareholders who may have lost hope of recovering their shares and their stake in the N130 billion unclaimed dividend in Nigeria’s capital market can now heave a sigh of relief as an investment company, Integrated Trust, has introduced a Securities & Exchange Commission-approved product to address these challenges.

The product, Integrated Shares Finder (ISF), is a financial advisory product designed to help the Nigerian investors to locate and recover their missing shares, loan stock and other capital market assets so that they can enjoy the benefit due to them on their investments.

Unclaimed dividends in Nigeria’s capital market rose to N130 billion as at December 2019, from N103.1 billion in December 2016, according to market sources.

Dele Lawore, group managing director/CEO, Integrated Trust & Investment Limited, said over 200 clients have already subscribed to the Integrated Shares Finder and have been able to recover their missing shares and dividends.

Malabu Oil: Court orders arrest of Etete, two others

A federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday ordered the arrest of former oil minister Dan Etete and two others, alleged owners of Malabu Oil, operational mining license (OML 245).

The court’s order followed an exparte motion filed by the EFCC to extradite Etete and the two others.

The economic watchdog held that the trio were complicit in the controversial sale of an Nigerian oil bloc around 2011.





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