MTN Uganda shares climb 2.5% on debut after muted IPO demand

After an initial public offering that was undersubscribed by 35%.
Image: Bloomberg

MTN Uganda shares climbed as much as 2.5% in their debut on the Uganda Securities Exchange after an initial public offering that was undersubscribed by 35%.

MTN raised 535.9 billion shillings ($150.3 million) after floating a 20% stake in an IPO that was the biggest in the East African nation’s history, doubling the Kampala market’s capitalisation.

The offer increased local Ugandan ownership to about 15% from 4%, according to Chief Executive Officer Wim Vanhelleputte. The undersubscription resulted from “negativity” during the sale period, he said. South African-based MTN Group Ltd. cut its 96% stake by 13%, against an initial target of 20%.

“A lot of people thought that MTN was not going to succeed, even during the opening period of the offer, there was a lot of negativity, a lot of misunderstanding around the facts and figures,” Vanhelleputte said at the listing ceremony Monday.

With the listing, Uganda’s Capital Markets Authority hopes to attract foreign capital, especially from global fund managers, according to CEO Keith Kalyegira. The IPO, the first in the country in more than three years, is also the biggest since Umeme Ltd. raised about $66 million in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The listing is quite significant as it draws the Uganda market closer to being categorised as a frontier market by the different providers of different categorisation indices and particularly Morgan Stanley Capital International,” Kalyegira said at the listing.

The national social security funds of Uganda and Kenya, Duet Africa Opportunities Master Fund IC, EFG Hermes Oman LLC and local pension funds for the Ugandan central bank and tax authority were among the leading buyers of MTN Uganda stock.

By 11 a.m. local time, the shares had climbed 2.5% to 205 shillings, from the IPO price of 200 shillings.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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