MTN Nigeria secures approval to cancel 7.5bn unissued shares

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is beaming  its searchlight on the activities relating to the listing of MTN Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The telecom giant on Friday confirmed to an online medium, that it received a letter from the antigraft agency, requesting information and documentation related to its listing of the shares on the equity market.

It was gathered that operatives of the EFCC stormed MTN Nigeria’s Corporate Head Office in Lagos and questioned some of its top officials on some grey areas concerning the listing of its shares.

MTN Nigeria’s shares have appreciated 56 per cent from N90 when it was floated on May 16 to N140 on Friday.  

The tech company explained in a release, “We wish to reiterate that we received all regulatory approvals required to list our shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as publicly confirmed by The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”

It added that it is cooperating fully with the authorities as “We are committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Stock brokers has frowned at the inability of retail investors to have access to the shares of MTN Nigeria on the floor of the bourse.

Boniface Okezie, a representative of minority shareholders, was reported to have said, “Shareholders are not happy because we could not buy their shares; it was not available and we don’t share in all the excitement going around.”

The capital market regulators have also been accused of conniving with MTN Nigeria Plc to allegedly manipulate the performance of the telecom firm’s share price at the exchange.

Specifically, they argued that by allowing MTN a free float of only 5.542 million shares admitted for trading at N90/share worth N498 million when it listed by way of introduction on The NSE, rather than unbundling all the units of shares in its holding, the managers might have unwittingly created a situation of scarcity in the market.

Under the terms, “the free float requirement for companies on the Alternative Securities Market (ASEM) board is 15 per cent of market capitalisation while 20 percent is prescribed for companies listed on the main board and also premium board is 20 per cent of market capitalisation or above N40 billion on the date the exchange receives the issuer’s application.”

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