Zambian Business Times
ZICTA presses MTN Zambia to list on LuSE…
• MTN failed to list through an SPV called Ikulileni, due to insufficient demand
• ZICTA is speaking to both MTN and SEC to ensure listing requirement is fulfilled Telecommunications regulator Zambia’s Information Communications Technology Authority- ZICTA, revealed that its currently in active talks with MTN Zambia, a local unit of South Africa’s telco giant - MTN for the company to list on the local bourse. This is a licensing requirement which it has not yet fulfilled.
In an exclusive Interview with the Zambian Business Times - ZBT, Ngabo Nankonde who is ZICTA’s Corporate Communication Manager disclosed that MTN had tried to list through a special purpose vehicle called Ikulileni, but the approach they used that time did not generate sufficient demand.
Nankonde told ZBT that ZICTA is currently engaging MTN Zambia, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Lusaka Securities Exchange - LuSE to ensure that MTN meets the license condition to list at least 10% of its shares through an initial public offering - IPO.
MTN initial attempt to list was when they created a special purpose vehicle - SPV to meet the LuSE Listing requirements which were revised in 2012. The listing rules then required a company to float a minimum of 25% in order to successfully list on the LuSE main Board.
However, for MTN to satisfy its license conditions, it only needs to list 10% of its shares. The change in listing rules had put MTN in a peculiar position which resulted in the telco creating of an SPV which couldn’t successfully list due to insufficient demand.
“Currently, the Authority is talking to both the Licensee - MTN and Capital Markets Players to ensure that MTN fulfils this license condition by listing MTN shares”. The Authority has had several engagement meetings with SEC and LuSE to ensure that MTN successfully lists. These meetings look at the modalities of ensuring that MTN successfully list on the Lusaka Stock Exchange”, Nankonde said.
When asked if MTN is having undue advantage in the Telecoms market due to it being a privately held company when compared to its rival Airtel which is publicly listed and has to meet stringent listing rules and clear corporate governance requirements, Nankonde said that “as dominant players both MTN and Airtel are subjected to the same regulations. ZICTA approves their tariffs before they are introduced on the market,” Nankonde said.
ZICTA closely monitors their operations and business conduct to ensure that there is no anticompetitive behavior and to ensure effective competition in the Sector. The Authority has put in place other measures such as, implementation of access regulations to ensure that there is co-location, interconnection and access to essential ICT infrastructure between them.
There is also tariff regulations to ensure that tariffs are cost based and that there is no pricing of ICT services and products below the cost of providing the service.
Zambia’s mobile voice and mobile internet services and products have remained relatively more expensive when compared to other Southern Africa countries as well as other frontier Africa markets such as Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria.
The high price points in Zambia has been attributed to a relaxed regulatory regime and led to Zambian youths lagging behind in ICT innovation due to exorbitant price points for ordinary citizens to afford high speed mobile internet.