There are indications that the Nigerian unit of MTN Group, MTN Nigeria, has now opted to settle out of court with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that MTN Nigeria was accused by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, of allegedly transferring about $8.1 billion out of its Nigerian account to its headquarters without the necessary regulatory approvals.
While MTN had since denied the allegations and calling it baseless, it went ahead to sue the CBN to prevent the apex bank from debiting its bank accounts of the disputed amount.
Another tax evasion sanction of about $1 billion was placed on MTN Nigeria by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Reports by BusinessDay Nigeria that the coast has now been cleared for the long-promised out of court resolution of the $8.2 billion claims made against telecoms giant MTN Nigeria by the Central Bank and MTN Nigeria after the Attorney General who is a party in the suit.
These series of tough times for Nigeria’s largest mobile carrier with about 60 million subscribers has put it in a difficult position of going ahead with its initial public offering, IPO, on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE. MTN had in the last few months shelved moves to go ahead with the share sale.
A telecom analyst who craved anonymity told PageOne.ng’s Big Business Desk that Nigeria’s pressure on the mobile carrier might force it to renew plans towards the much anticipated IPO.
However, he concluded that: “MTN has not shown any seriousness that it would do the IPO soon”. The challenges confronting its operations in Nigeria will further put pressure on its business outlook creating more uncertainties around its business which impacts the ability to convince the markets that its shares are worth investing in.
It would be recalled that MTN’s IPO in Ghana could not raise up to half of its proposed amount. This was a move that further dampened investors enthusiasm on whether its Nigerian IPO might also receive a weak response.