NSE closer to listing telecom firms – Onyema

By Kingsley Ighomwenghian  /  Deputy Editor


The Chief Executive  officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE),  Oscar Onyema  on Thursday said the bourse is making progress in its bid to persuade MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat, the nation’s four telecommunications firms to list their shares and offer ordinary citizens part-ownership.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) in Seoul, Korea,    Onyema, told Bloomberg by phone that discussions on the issue “has moved from them (the telcos) not wanting to list, to them looking at how to deal with the issues that would make it unattractive to list.”

According to him, the NSE is “gaining traction,” in trying to entice more companies to place initial public offerings to better mirror the make-up of the Nigerian economy.

While the last rebasing of Nigeria’s economy showed that the telecoms sector is a major contributor to the GDP, none of the GSM companies is present on the bourse, just the NSE has few utilities and oil companies even though Nigeria is the continent’s top crude producer.

While none of the operators have come with applications to list stock, the companies did highlight “structural issues” hindering initial public offerings, Onyema said, adding that the bourse is working with the Federal Government to address any shortcomings.

Continuing, Onyema said: “Some don’t need to raise capital, but some do. If any one of the four carriers wanted to raise capital on the NSE, I don’t see that not being successful.”

The four companies had 177.5 million lines between them at the end of August, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission.

South Africa’s MTN Group Limited (MTN), which controls a 49 per cent market share, did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment by Bloomberg. Emeka Opara, spokesman for Airtel Nigeria, a unit of Bharti Airtel Limited, could not immediately comment, while calls to spokesmen at Globacom Limited, Nigeria’s second national carrier; and the local unit of Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) were unanswered.

Source : Independent

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