MTN Uganda will sell a fifth of its stake to Kenyan and other East African investors when it floats its initial public offer (IPO) on the Kampala bourse.
The telecom, a South African MTN Group subsidiary, said Tuesday that it had received regulatory approvals to list 20 percent of its shareholding.
The firm said Tuesday that it would disclose details of the offer in its prospectus to be released on October 11.
Uganda’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) Chief Executive Keith Kalyegira said the IPO is expected to raise about $1.2 billion.
“The intention to float announcement is a major step towards delivering on our plan to list on the USE,” MTN Uganda chairman Charles Mbire told reporters.
The widely anticipated stake sale of the leading telecom in Uganda will be restricted to citizens of the East African Community trading bloc, Ugandan regulators said earlier.
Besides Kenya and Uganda, the other members of the EAC are Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
The IPO is expected to boost the number of retail investors at the Uganda Securities Exchange from about 40,000 to 200,000 investors.
The listing will make MTN Uganda the second publicly traded telecom in EAC after Safaricom’s IPO on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 2008.
“This will potentially be the largest IPO on the Ugandan market and will be delivered primarily through a digital paperless/ green platform which is the first of its kind in East Africa,” said MTN Uganda in a statement.
“The offer and listing of MTN Uganda is in line with MTN Group’s localisation plans to drive local ownership in the markets within which MTN operates,” the firm said.
The Ugandan government set the listing of telecoms on the local bourse as one of its licence renewal conditions to allow local ownership of big companies with few large shareholders.
MTN Group Ltd of South Africa owns more than 90 percent of the company’s shares, while a Ugandan businessman holds less than five percent shares.
MTN Uganda, which has 15 million subscribers, had its operating licence renewed for 12 years in February last year after paying $100 million with the local listing requirement as a precondition for the permit nod.
“We are delighted to witness the honouring of this commitment by MTN,” said Irene Kaggwa-Sewankambo, the Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission.
MTN Uganda was granted two years starting July 1 2020, to list 20 percent of its equity on the Ugandan Securities Exchange.
“This IPO gives Ugandans an opportunity to own a piece of the company,” said USE chief executive Paul Bwiso on Tuesday.
MTN Uganda started operating in the country in 1998.
Although relatively small, Uganda’s telecoms and data market is seen as potentially lucrative because many of the country’s 42 million people are young.
Mobile penetration in Uganda grew from 0.27 percent in 1998 to 67 percent as of March 2021 underlining the sector's rapid growth.