•Registers Nigerian business shares before listing
•Wants to list in first half of 2019
•South African firm has faced several disputes in Nigeria
Jude Johnson and Alexis Akwagyiram
A Nigerian judge ruled on Tuesday that South African telecoms firm MTN had met a deadline to respond to a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general.
This is as the telecom giant has also registered to list 20.4 billion ordinary shares at 0.02 naira ($0.0001) each with the country’s securities regulator.
The South African telecoms firm said in its statement it has started negotiations with the stock exchange to complete the listing.
To this end, MTN said it has registered more than 20 billion shares of its $5 billion Nigerian business before its planned listing of the unit in the West African nation.
It announced the move shortly after a judge cleared Africa’s biggest telecoms firm of missing a deadline to file a challenge against a $2 billion tax demand, the latest row with the authorities to beset MTN’s Nigerian business.
MTN argues that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakat Malami, exceeded his power when he issued the backdated tax demand in September. State lawyers had filed a case saying MTN did not file its challenge in time.
MTN Nigeria said after the judge’s ruling it had registered to list 20.4 billion ordinary shares at 0.02 naira ($0.0001) each with Nigeria’s securities regulator, before listing the business that MTN valued at about $5 billion last year.
“We have achieved another milestone in our listing process,” MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Ferdi Moolman said in a statement.
The company said it had started talks with the stock exchange to complete the listing and would meet investors to discuss the plans on May 16.
It has previously said it did not plan to raise funds from investors immediately via the listing.