(Updates with quotes, details)
By Kwasi Kpodo
ACCRA, May 29 (Reuters) - MTN on Tuesday launched an initial public offering for a 35 percent stake in its Ghana business, which it hopes will raise 3.47 billion cedis ($743 million).
In what is expected to be the West African country’s largest IPO, telecoms operator MTN will sell about 4.63 billion shares in MTN Ghana at 0.75 cedis per share, group vice president Ebenezer Asante said.
MTN is the leading mobile operator in Ghana with 17.8 million voice subscribers as of September, ahead of AirtelTigo, Vodafone and Nigeria’s Globacom.
Asante said the company had earmarked $144 million for 2018 capital expenditure, mostly to upgrade technology, including rolling out fibre connectivity to urban homes and boosting smart phone services.
The public offering, which closes at the end of July, is one of the requirements MTN agreed with Ghanaian regulators in 2015 to allow for the introduction of its fourth generation, high-speed mobile data network.
Asante said foreign investors are allowed to buy only up to 5 percent of the offer. “The focus really is to give as much opportunity to Ghanaians to share in the success story of the company.”
Accra-based brokerage firm IC Securities is lead adviser for the transaction. If successful, MTN Ghana will be the most valuable company and the first mobile operator to be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange. Last December MTN signed a 510 million cedi ($112 million) syndicated loan from nine banks and was oversubscribed by 590 million cedis. ($1 = 4.67 cedis) (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo Editing by Alexandra Hudson)