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Sale of MTN shares to Ghanaians takes off in 2017

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Ebenezer Asante - MTN Ghana CEO

Telecom giant MTN Ghana will finalize processes to float shares on Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) this year – 2017.

MTN commenced moves to list on the GSE last year – 2016, as part of conditions under which it secured the 4G license in late 2015.

The company which spent US$67.5million to acquire the license which is valid for the next 15 years, is hoping to raise about 500 million dollars in order to offload 35 percent of its business in Ghana to locals.

If successful MTN will be exempted from the capital market local content policy which enjoins companies operating in specific areas including telecom, mining, oil and gas to list a minimum percentage of their shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange within 5 years of commencement of operations in Ghana.

CEO of MTN Ghana, Mr. Ebenezer Asante speaking after an MTN Stakeholder and Media forum on its performance for 2016 said the company had cleared initial issues it had had with regulators.

”The localization requirement is a requirement that came with the 4G license and it’s very clear from the license that 35% of MTN should be moved into Ghanaian hands and since we required the license we have engaged the regulators both in the NCA as well as the Central Bank and also with the Securities and Exchange Commission; there were a few issues that we had to trash out with the regulator and that has been finalized, so with that out of the way we have to just also finalize the prospectus so that the Securities and Exchange Commission can look at it and give approval”.

He adds that MTN will launch the IPO immediately the NCA approves the move.

”When we receive approval from the NCA, we would be in the position to launch the 4G localization that came with the license. In terms of the exact time lines I’m not able to commit to because I am not a regulator and I should not be seen to be stampeding the regulator through this interaction so all that I can say is that three months for the receipt of the approval from the SEC we will be in the position to launch and it should be before the end of this year”.

MTN’s performance for 2016

According to MTN’s financial statement for 2016 its revenue increased from 2.3 billion cedis in 2015 to 2.7 billion cedis in 2016.

During the period, the telecom operator’s subscriber growth went up by 18.7% to 19.3 million

The telecom operator’s data revenue went up to 65.7%, contributing 42% to total revenue while digital revenue contributed 48% to data revenue.

Speaking to Citi Business News on the company’s performance Mr. Ebenezer Asante said innovation culture in MTN Ghana as well as investment in customer experience among others contributed to its performance.

” To transform the business away from voice and data and with all the data services both mobile financial services and other video and related data service that we launched, we are beginning to get the  benefits of some of the work that we did two years ago so that is number one. Number two is the whole innovation drive that the team at MTN Ghana here that everybody has imbibed and it’s the way we do things; how we engage customers, how we engage the trade, how we engage our own internal stake holders etc. Everybody in MTN is looking at new ways of doing things and I think the innovation culture of MTN Ghana has really paid off and I’m putting a lot of emphasis on the innovation culture because even the transformational agenda that I touched on can only happen when you have the right people who are thinking alike and who are seeking to do new things. Without the right people, without the right culture there is no way you can have an operation like ours that is already growing but to be able to grow in some of the non-voice area and some of the non-data areas so it means that we have the right team across the business not only from the commercial side but everywhere within the organization”.

”Then the third one is the customer experience that we have placed a lot of emphasis on and the investment the we have put behind the customer experience and when we talk about customer experience it’s not only a mantra at MTN but you look at even the investment that we poured in 2016, 143 million dollars all went into the network operation, network deployment, as well as network expansion all to enhance the experience that we deliver to our customers. We invested a lot in customer service foot prints; we invested a lot also even in the network system , three years ago you were aware of the challenges that we had with mobile money in particular, the system was always down and people were having difficulty in transferring money because the system was down. The whole of 2016 we did not have any mobile network outage for mobile money that is an example so we are investing a lot in the network systems we are investing a lot also in the our own technology and hence the acquisition of the 4G”.

MTN in 2016 according to its financial statement for that year paid 1.1 billion cedis to government in taxes and fees.

Of this 713 million cedis went to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA),  51.8 million cedis went to the National Communications Authority (NCA)/ GIFEC, while 258 million cedis went to the NCA for the 4G, LTE and 85 million cedis to SIIT.

By:  Vivian Kai Lokko/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana