The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and MTN Group are in the final stages of agreeing a deal in which the former wants to acquire 2.2 million shares in MTN Uganda, highly placed sources on both sides have told Eagle Online.
“Everything is almost finalised and we should be able to sign an agreement within two months,” a top executive told Eagle Online, though he declined to disclose how much a share will cost NSSF, which has invested in a number of companies as well as running its own investment projects in real estate.
MTN Uganda, is the country’s largest telecommunications firm, controlling a subscriber base of more than 10 million.
In late January, information from President’s office indicated that MTN Uganda was negotiations to sale shares to local investors.
This was after President Yoweri Museveni insisted telecom firms including MTN Uganda need to list shares on the local stock exchange to facilitate domestic ownership of the companies.
The President also thinks this will ensure more of the money foreign companies earn stays in the country.
The statement then quoted MTN Group’s President and CEO Rob Shuter as saying the firm was in negotiations with a state-controlled National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for a possible sale of shares to the fund.
Museveni met Shuter on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos where he insisted the company should float share on local stock exchange.
“It is important that you float shares on the local stock exchange to allow for local ownership,” Museveni was quoted as telling Shuter, a statement from his office said.
If the deal goes through, it will bring a rise in local proprietorship in Uganda’s biggest taxpayer from the current 5 percent.
MTN Uganda is in negotiations with government for a ten-year extension of its operating license after it expired in October last year but there has been disagreements over the amount of licence fees to be paid.