MTN seeks $555m cash boost for Nigerian expansion

By Emele Onu

(Bloomberg) – MTN Group Ltd.’s Nigerian unit plans to raise about 200bn naira ($555m) this year from a variety of sources including bank loans and bonds to expand operations in its biggest market.

The funds will enable Africa’s largest wireless carrier to finance capital expenditure to increase the reach and efficiency of its network in Nigeria, Chief Financial Officer Adekunle Awobodu said by phone from Lagos. MTN has also started the process of listing its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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The company had announced plans to raise as much as 400bn naira last year, and later signed to a 200bn naira credit line with a group of banks. MTN is “currently arranging” for another 200bn naira, according to Awobodu.

It registered 20.35 billion ordinary shares with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission last week, with about 20% expected to be listed on the Lagos bourse this week. MTN has 65.6 million subscribers in Nigeria, or 38% of the market, according to February data provided by the Nigerian Communications Commission.