…As NSE lists Nigeria’s 1st FX denominated bonds
By Chinwendu Obienyi
MTN Group has announced that it lost $200 million in 2016, the first full-year loss of the company in its 22 years of existence. The South African telecommunications firm had hinted earlier that its full-year operation may end in a loss following the N330 billion regulatory fine imposed on it by the Nigerian government.
The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) had last year slammed a fine of N330 billion on MTN over its failure to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards from its network.
In its report released yesterday, the company said the action of NCC contributed to its loss. “MTN Group’s financial results for 2016 reflect the most challenging year in the company’s 22-year history,” a statement by the company read.
“The performance in Nigeria was hurt by the forced disconnection of 4.5 million customers by the government a year ago, regulatory penalties and the weakness of the naira against the dollar. In South Africa, lower demand for mobile phone contracts weighed on earnings.
“Towards the end of 2016, our two largest operations (South Africa and Nigeria) began to show signs of a turnaround following an extended period of under-performance.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has listed the $1 billion Federal Government eurobond under Nigeria’s newly established Global Medium Term Note programme on the floor of the stock exchange.
The domestic sovereign eurobond is Nigeria’s first foreign currency denominated security to be listed and traded in the Nigerian capital market and it is priced at par and at a coupon of 7.88 per cent payable annually and has tenure of 15 years.
Speaking during the Facts Behind the Listing of the $1 billion FGN eurobond in Lagos yesterday, Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Abraham Nwankwo, said that the listing of the domestic sovereign bond reinforced the DMO’s commitment to democratise its activities.
He said, “the listing was done under hazardous conditions but as hazardous as they were, we have Nigeria’s first forex denominated bonds listed on the NSE, the very first of its kind.
“Today’s listing is part of the DMO’s commitment in democratising our activities and benefits of what the DMO does. We want to create access to buying and selling of the eurobond and this is part of developing the domestic market in order to bridge infrastructure deficit constraining economic growth,” he said.
According to him, “the eurobond, which was over-subscribed by 780 per cent is part of Federal Government’s funding strategy for its 2016 capital expenditure and will be spent on key infrastructure projects, which is in line with the economic plan and this underscores investors’ appetite for exposure to Nigeria and demonstrates international confidence in the economy’s long term prospects.”
Commenting further on the listing, Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology, NSE, Ade Bajomo, commended the DMO for listing the eurobond in the nation’s bourse, adding that it will open up hybrid capital raising options and create additional portfolio diversification opportunities for investors on the NSE.
“Today, the exchange is admitting to its daily official list one million units of FGN eurobond at a par value of $100 per unit. This event marks the first listing of a sovereign dollar denominated instrument in the Nigerian capital market and it is a testimony to the Federal Government and DMO’s commitment to the growth and enhancement of the Nigerian capital market,” he said.