26 March 2018

Nigeria: Legal Setback to MTN Planned Listing in Nigeria

Lagos — A LEGAL practitioner has approached courts to stop MTN from listing its shares in the Nigeria Stock Exchange pending the determination of a suit between him, the telecommunications giant and four other firms.

Dr Charles Mekwunye is seeking an order of interlocutory injunction from the Court of Appeal restraining MTN, its agents or licenses from listing its shares pending the determination of his appeal.

He had dragged the South African-headquartered operator before the Federal High Court sitting in the commercial city of Lagos over the alleged breach of a contractual agreement by firms representing the company in a privately placed share units offer.

Joined in the suit a co-defendants were Lotus Capital Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Ltd, IHS Holding Ltd and INT Towers Ltd.

Mekwunye had contended at the Federal High Court that after buying about 5 000 MTN Linked Units share through MTN's nominee, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Ltd via a private placement memorandum, the firm failed to fulfil its obligation of converting the share units into MTN Nigeria shares.

He bought 5 000 units of the shares at the rate of US$122 800 in the then Naira equivalent of over N18, 376 million.

However, ruling on a preliminary objection raised by MTN on the competence of the suit, presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Olateru, asked parties in the suit to explored the arbitration clause embedded in the disputes contract.

Dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower court, Mekwunye through a motion on notice filed last month approached the Court of Appeal.

The lawyer insisted in the appeal papers that the root of the matter is the failure of the respondents to list MTN shares in Nigeria in 2013 as agreed by parties.

He challenges that until the suit or appeal is properly determined, MTN ought not be allowed to list is shares at the stock market.

No date for hearing has been fixed for the matter.

MTN plans to list its Nigerian unit worth over $5 billion reportedly by July.

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