That bad idea to force MTN list on NSE

MTN

Last year, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), handed the MTN group, a marching order to complete its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by May 2019, by way of initial public offering (IPO).

A listing on the stock exchange had been one of the conditions reached by the NCC and MTN for the settlement of the fine imposed on the company in 2015.

The company was fined for not disconnecting unregistered sim cards.

MTN group, on her own, said it will complete its listing on the bourse if the conditions are right.

To many, it makes good business sense for MTN to list on the NSE, considering the company’s impressive track record which is supported by scaled market position and the first-mover advantage.

Beyond that, it is difficult to ignore the telco’s new growth initiatives – to be implemented by a sound management team which could potentially propel earnings to new highs over the medium term.

But it makes a lot more sense, if entrepreneurs who have risked everything to grow their companies in Nigeria willingly decide on their own and at their convenient time to add new investors.

Compelling a company to list by government is a badly conceived idea fraught with executive recklessness.

These companies know that further expansion by way of addition of new investors benefit them.

Companies become public entities for different reasons, but usually to raise additional capital.

The financial benefit in the form of raising capital is a distinct advantage as the capital can be used to fund research and development, fund capital expenditure or even used to pay off existing debt.

Instead of forcing operators to go public, Nigerian government must find a way of making these companies contribute to various corporate social responsibilities.

It is also wrong to blame operators for exploiting the laxity in the nation’s laws by going for private placements instead of getting listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The first step is making sure the laws of the land are strengthened to deal with demands of modern times.

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