(Bloomberg) -- MTN Group Ltd.’s Nigerian unit shares jumped as they began trading in Lagos, a step toward a partial sale of a majority 79% stake owned by Africa’s largest wireless carrier.

  • MTN Nigeria Communications Plc rose 10% to 99 naira as of 2:19 p.m., giving it a market value of 2.01 trillion naira ($5.6 billion). That makes the mobile-phone company the second-biggest listed firm in Africa’s most populous country, behind only Dangote Cement Plc, the main asset of billionaire Aliko Dangote.

Key Insights:

  • MTN agreed to an IPO of its Nigeria business as part of the settlement of a reduced $1 billion fine in the country in 2016. In a first step, Nigerian investors who previously bought and sold their shares occasionally over the counter can now trade over the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Later, MTN will add to the free float by selling down its majority stake.
  • Assigning a valuation to MTN Nigeria has been complex as the parent company is locked in a legal battle with Nigeria’s Attorney General over a $2 billion tax claim, the latest in a series of disputes in its biggest market.
  • The carrier appointed former Nigerian central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi, who’s now the Emir of Kano, as a non-executive director to help ease relations.
  • The shares started trading at 2:14 p.m, meaning the NSE’s newest member only had 16 minutes to trade before the market closed on Thursday.

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  • With revenue of 282 billion naira in the first quarter, MTN Nigeria is the largest firm on the NSE by sales and the only mobile-phone company to be on the bourse.
  • MTN Raising $555 Million in Nigeria This Year for Expansion
  • MTN Revamps Board With a Who’s Who of African Heavyweights

--With assistance from Renee Bonorchis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Wallace in Lagos at pwallace25@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dana El Baltaji at delbaltaji@bloomberg.net, John Bowker, Thomas Pfeiffer

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