UPDATE 1-MTN to list Nigerian unit towards April and May - MTN Nigeria CEO

(Adds details, changes dateline to Lagos from Abuja)

LAGOS, March 13 (Reuters) - South African telecoms firm MTN Group Ltd expects its Nigerian subsidiary to list on the local stock exchange “probably more towards April and May”, the unit’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

The listing should be no later than halfway through the year, Ferdi Moolman, chief executive of MTN Nigeria told reporters in the commercial capital of Lagos.

MTN last week said it aimed to list its Nigerian unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange during the first half of 2019 without raising new money from investors immediately.

MTN Nigeria said it would simplify its capital structure prior to the listing. The Nigerian company also said its subscriber base grew to 58 million users in 2018, up 6 million.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, with 52.3 million users in 2017, and accounts for a third of the company’s annual core profit, but has proven problematic in recent years.

MTN in December agreed to make a $53 million payment to resolve a dispute in Nigeria. The move ended a four-month multi-billion dollar dividend repatriation row that has hammered its share price.

Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram Writing by Paul Carsten Editing by David Evans and Emelia Sithole-Matarise