It’s been barely three months since the Nigerian arm of South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd. put months of endless speculation to rest by finally listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). But it seems like that was all the time it needed to become the most valuable company on the exchange.
It may still be a newcomer in the space but at the close of trading as of Monday, 19th August, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc had a market capitalization of NGN 2.82 Tn (USD 7.82 Bn), effectively overtaking Dangote Cement Plc — a company owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote — as the most valuable listed company on the NSE.
In May this year, MTN Nigeria, Nigeria’s leading cellular telecommunications company, listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. While being the first telco to list on the NSE Premium Board, MTN Nigeria also became the second most-valuable entity on the local stock market at the time
On its very first trading day, MTN Nigeria opened its share market with the ticket MTNN, but only allowed trading for 16 minutes before the markets were shut down. During this brief window, the company was, however, able to become the second most valuable entity on the stock exchange.
Though it put up its shares for an initial USD 0.25, the South African firm recorded a 10 percent rise in price. By the end of the 16 minutes, MTN was worth USD 5.54 Bn, a figure that was only bettered by Dangote Cement at the time. That swashbuckling start could be thought to have laid the groundwork for what was to come as MTN Nigeria has now toppled Dangote Cement as the top-dog on the NSE Premium Board.
The latest development could be thought to be another indication of MTN’s continued success in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa; a sharp contrast from the fortunes, or rather, misfortunes, of the company in South Africa, its home ground. Though tax disputes with the Nigerian government still linger, things seem to be getting mostly better for MTN in Nigeria.