25 March 2019

Nigeria: SEC Yet to Receive Application From MTN Nigeria On Proposed Listing

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that MTN Nigeria Limited has not filled any application with the commission regarding the proposed listing by Introduction.

The Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, recently confirmed proposals by the telecommunications giant to list on the nation's bourse by June 2019.

He said MTN plans to list by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) during the first half of 2019 and is looking to simplify the capital structure ahead of this listing.

But the Acting Director-General of the SEC, Mary Uduk, while addressing journalists during the post Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting, in Lagos, at the weekend, stated that the commission has not received any application from MTN Nigeria.

She however, admitted that MTN has visited the commission to intimate them of plans to list on the nation's bourse, but reiterated that no formal filling of application has been done to that effect.

"There are processes they have to follow before they come for the listing by introduction. There has been engagement between us and MTN, but no formal filling yet and until they have filled the application, we will now tell the market exactly the kind of application they are coming out with," she said.

To enhance market liquidity, Uduk stated that the commission is currently engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to include banks on the margin lending lists, as the commission discovered that there has been zero activities since the rules guiding margin lending was introduced after the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

According to her, the commission would ensure monetary compliance of the margin loans to avoid any form of abuses.

"We did not specify the kind of exposure that a market operator would have. We excluded banking loans in the list of margin loans and we find out that in other jurisdictions, you can give loan to buy banking shares we have started engaging CBN. We would ensure monetary compliance of the margin loans to ensure that there will not be any abuse," she noted.

On the issue of Electronic Initial Public Offer (E-IPO), SEC chief said the draft framework for its implementation has been developed and presented at the CMC meeting.

She pointed out that the commission has exposed the framework and rules guiding the E-IPO, and stakeholders now have up till Friday, March 29, 2019, to review and send their suggestions for improvement.

She reiterated the need for investors to embrace the e-dividend platform as this will help reduce the huge unclaimed dividend portfolio in the domestic market, but expressed dissatisfaction on the apathy showed by investors on e dividend registration, with the expiration of the March 31, 2018, free registration deadline.

She said the current figure of investors who have so far embraced the e-dividend platform is 2.7 million, stating that the exercise would help stem the rising unclaimed dividend figure in the capital market.

She added that the commission is currently working with banks and registrars to strategies on how to make e-dividend enrolment more attractive to investors.

The Acting Executive Commissioner for Corporate Services, SEC, Henry Rowland, said: "About one year ago, SEC stopped free registration exercise and about 2.2 million investors registered. Just because the free registration stopped, members of the public appear not to go forward again.

"And we can tell you that even though they are still coming forward, only about 2.7 million had registered presently, which means that the differential between one year ago and now is about 500,000 investors.

"The SEC took critical cognizance of this low pace and the DG has made up her mind that we are going to do a review and see how we are going to intensify and restrategise on how to get the public interested.

"The SEC cannot continue to pay for the registration of mandates, but there is a strategy that we will review and develop with the bank and registrars to entice investors. The total amount of money deductible from every accrued mandate is N150."

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