(Adds background, details, valuation)
ABUJA, July 8 (Reuters) - MTN Nigeria is yet to file its application for an initial public offering (IPO), Nigeria’s securities regulator said on Sunday, a much-anticipated share listing that could value the business at around $5 billion and help revitalise the local stock market.
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) statement came after domestic media reported on Thursday that the local arm of the South African telecoms giant was ready for its shares to be listed.
“Neither MTN Nigeria Limited nor any of its advisers or representatives has filed any application with the SEC regarding the said IPO,” the regulator said.
The firm also needs to convert itself from a private to a public company before it can then sell its shares.
The SEC said in Sunday’s statement that MTN Nigeria is private, meaning it has less than 50 shareholders, and there had been no request by the company or its advisers for any form of regulatory review.
MTN did not respond to a phone call, text message and email seeking comment.
According to pre-IPO documents seen by Reuters in February, the telecoms firm planned to debut by July and raise at least $400 million to cut debt for its Nigeria unit, valued then at $5.23 billion.
Sources say the company wants to issue shares electronically. That has not been done before in Nigeria and needs new systems put in place to allow it.
MTN has picked Nigerian investment firm Chapel Hill Denham as lead manager, while South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank, Renaissance Capital and Vetiva Capital were chosen as joint issuers.
Africa’s biggest telecoms firm had planned to list its Nigerian unit in 2017, as part of a settlement with the Nigerian government over unregistered SIM cards for which it was fined $1.7 billion fine.
It subsequently delayed the IPO due to market conditions. (Reporting by Felix Onuah and Chijioke Ohuocha Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)