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MTN Uganda announces share price for biggest Ugandan IPO

(Adds quotes from MTN CEO, company’s profits and dividend policy)

By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA, Oct 11 (Reuters) – MTN Uganda said on Monday it had set the price of its initial public offering for the sale of a 20% stake at 200 Ugandan shillings ($0.0558) per share, as the East African nation’s biggest telecoms operator launched the country’s biggest IPO.

“The MTN IPO is officially open,” MTN Uganda Chief Executive Wim Vanhelleputte told a news conference in Kampala, saying the IPO would close on Nov. 22. Shares start trading on Dec. 6.

MTN Uganda is offering 4.5 billion shares, Vanhelleputte said, after the unit of South Africa’s MTN Group secured regulatory approval last week.

This would value the stake at 895.56 billion shillings ($250 million) and MTN Uganda at $1.25 billion, the company said.

Anne Juuko, chief executive of Stanbic Bank Uganda, which owns the sponsoring brokerage SBG Securities Uganda Ltd, said Ugandans would have first priority, followed by investors in East Africa and then investors from outside the region.

The telecoms firm, which has 15 million subscribers, also offers mobile money financial services, which Vanhelleputte said was the firm’s biggest growth area as more people sought cashless transactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s main rival is a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel . It could build more subscribers after a smaller rival, Africell, said it was quitting the market.

MTN Uganda, which started operations in 1998, secured a 12-year renewal of its licence in June 2020 after paying $100 million and on condition it listed at least 20% of its shares on the local market, which now has 17 stocks.

MTN Uganda reported revenues in 2020 of 1.9 trillion Uganda shillings, up 9.3% from the previous year, and a pre-tax profit of 460.3 billion Ugandan shillings last year, up 21.3%.

“MTN Uganda will target in the medium term a dividend pay-out ratio of at least 60% of annual profits after tax,” the company said in its prospectus.

MTN Uganda said it would announce the allocation result on Dec. 3.

($1 = 3,585.0000 Ugandan shillings) (Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by George Obulutsa and Edmund Blair)

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