MTN-Ghana-CEO-Ebenezer-Asante
MTN-Ghana-CEO-Ebenezer-Asante

Speech delivered by the VP (SEAGHA) & CEO of MTN Ghana Ebenezer Asante at the official launch of the MTN Ghana Initial Public Offer at the Marriots Hotel, Accra on May 29, 2018.

Honorable Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State
Nii Mei, Naa Mei, Nananom,
MTN Board Members
MTN Group Executives and Executives of MTN Ghana
CEOs of Financial Institutions
Potential investors
MTN Staff
Members of the Media
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish to welcome you all to the formal launch of MTN’s Initial Public Offer and to thank you for making the time to attend this event. I also want to say a special thank you to the 2018 African Bankers Awards’ Finance Minister of the year – Mr Ken Ofori-Atta for accepting to be part of this special moment. You have shown keen interest in the MTN Ghana IPO since you assumed office. You wanted it to be truly transformative in deepening the capital market of Ghana and I am very sure we will not disappoint you. We are grateful to have you here to lend your support.

To our Sector Ministry, Regulators, supporting Authorities and their Executives– MoC, NCA, BOG, GIPC, SEC, GSE you have walked with us throughout the journey and accommodated many of our requests to ensure this will not be just another IPO in the market. Special thanks to the DG of NCA, Mr. Joe Anokye and the CEO of GIPC, Mr. Yoofi Grant for creating enough space for all our troubles and frequent pestering. That we are outdooring a great IPO baby today, signals that your efforts truly paid off.

Ladies and gentlemen, today’s launch, reaffirms our commitment to Ghana and this fills us with a sense of great optimism about the future of MTN business and about the future of all other businesses across our footprints.

I have seen several phases of MTN’s growth but the single act of localization today, I believe, marks the opening of another chapter in the life of this company.
As many of you are already aware, MTN is listing its shares to meet conditions agreed to in 2015, when it acquired the right to use a 4G spectrum that can carry high-speed mobile data for customers. Our Regulator made it a license requirement for MTN Ghana which we complied with because we believe the good people of Ghana deserve the privilege of owning a part of MTN which prides itself in being the first at many things and in many spaces. Hopefully we will make history and show the way as the first Telcom on the GSE.
As we entrench our position as the leader in Ghana, we are hopeful that this transaction will have a positive impact on our local market, expanding the frontiers of inclusion.
Our record of strategic investments, innovation and customer focus underlies MTN’s success. Our strong relationship and connection with people and our continuous investment in our communities reinforces our belief in people.
Mr. Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, starting from 1996 when Scancom made history by being the first company to introduce GSM technology in Ghana, the expansion begun. Upon acquisition of the company in 2006, MTN inherited 2.5 million subscribers and quickly achieved the 10 millionth subscriber milestone within 5 years. Today, we are over 17 million.
I am proud to say that our company has continued to lead the way with many more firsts in Ghana. First in attaining national coverage in all 10 regions, Commercial launch of 3G, Mobile Money, CSI Foundation and nationwide 4G Mobile service, just to name a few.
In recent times we reaffirmed our commitment to this country by investing in an ultra – modern office complex, setting a new standard for development along the Independence Avenue as we are all witnessing. Our Experience Centres have not been left behind. Most of our branches have been transformed into more spacious and interactive flagship shops. A few weeks ago, in line with our Digital Channel strategy we started piloting a self-service kiosk which will provide 24/7 selected services such as sim change and airtime purchase amongst others.

When we consider the value chain of our operations, our connection with our employees and the varied number of suppliers, partners and the people they employ, we estimate that directly and indirectly we are responsible for about half a million sustainable jobs in Ghana. MTN has made significant investments in attracting and retaining talents to enable them deliver on the strategic agenda of the business. We cherish the commitment of our People to the success of our business and have worked hard to attain the Investor In People global accreditation (Gold Advance).
The layers of value creation behind the business we all know as MTN Ghana are enormous. We have more than 200,000 retailers and our Mobile Money service has contributed significantly to employment creation with jobs for over 100,000 merchant points across the country who received a total of 4.4 million USD (GHS19.6m) as commission in 2017. In discharging our honest responsibility to the State, MTN paid a total of GH₵1.218 billion as taxes for the year 2017. Out of our profits the MTN Ghana Foundation is well resourced to continue to invest in the areas of Health, Education and Economic Empowerment. If you consider the work of the MTN Ghana Foundation and the impact it is making in the lives of communities across Ghana you will agree with me that we are truly a Caring Company. The recent Heroes of Change program which was graced by the 2nd Lady of the Republic, Mrs. Samira Bawumia shows how the initiative is touching lives.

In the area of technology, we continue to invest in our services as we continue to work closely with our technology partners. Quite recently we have taken our connectivity agenda a notch higher. Our world-class rural solution has been recognised by the GSMA at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It was adjudged “Best Mobile Innovation in Emerging Markets”. This solution is being rolled out in a hundred communities in partnership with GIFEC to ensure that deeply unserved communities are also connected to the rest of the world in the most economical way. We have taken a key bet on Home Broadband as the first step in providing total digital solutions to urban homes. To this end our MTN Business division also rolled out fibre to over 14,000 homes within one year. All these have led to a significant progress in smartphone growth which contributed to increasing our data revenues and usage. This year, we have earmarked $144 million as investment in CAPEX only.
Over the years we have evolved, expanded our focus, our technology, relationships, partnerships, grown our service reach and perhaps most importantly, our relevance to Ghana’s development. With a robust network, three state-of-the-art data centers, the West African Cable System (WACS) and over 5000 KM of fiber, MTN continues to deliver extensive, reliable, fast voice and data services to Ghanaians.

MTN Ghana is extremely humbled of our history and accomplishments achieved through the decades: keeping families and friends easily connected, growing businesses, improving financial and digital inclusion, creating jobs and making significant contributions to government revenues, to name a few.

We are especially proud of the fact that through MTN many businesses have been born. Our very existence inspires opportunities for local businesses in Value Added Services, Media, Advertising, Entertainment, Brands, Research, Hospitality, Music, Culture and Arts, Sports, Youth Development, Retail, Training and community development, etc.

Whilst doing these we have faced a fair share of challenges, challenges we endeavor to confront head-on. In all of these we took in feedback and criticisms in good faith and turned most of them around, creating opportunities out of many while making sure that we meet compliance requirements and operate with integrity. When we gauge our Customer Aspirations and their Expectations of us, there is no doubt we still have huge opportunities ahead of us to conquer. Our confidence stems from the very MTN Values and Behaviours – Can-Do, Get it done and with Integrity. If there is anything we can call a success that we are inviting you to consider during the IPO, it is our consistent commitment to our brand promise espoused by the Customers we are so privileged to serve. Serving them with such “delicious” and most innovative, yet accessible digital services in collaboration with our partners, many of who are here with us today. We thank you all.

We believe that MTN Ghana is well positioned to benefit significantly from the progressive turnaround of Ghana’s economic fortunes. The country’s status as the second largest, fastest growing economy in West Africa, relatively stable currency and falling inflation and interest rates should be a boon for our industry and our business in the near term.
Growth and innovation in Ghana’s telecom industry, which has been ranked as the most attractive place for telecom investment by BMI, will continue to be driven by steady capital investment, sustained migration to high speed 4G network, accelerated data growth, market consolidation and an increase in mobile financial services such as mobile money, mobile insurance, mobile banking, mobile investments, mobile shopping, to name a few.
The recipe for our success is also anchored around our BRIGHT strategy. The Strategy in brief is cast in acronym BRIGHT:

• Best customer experience;
• Returns and efficiency focus;
• Ignite commercial performance;
• Growth through data and digital;
• Hearts and minds; and
• Technology excellence.

In driving this strategy, we are also mindful of the myriads of risks in the horizon for which we apply our best managerial efforts and minds to mitigate or contain.

Pushing our BRIGHT Strategy whilst managing the attendant risks, we have every belief that MTN Ghana will continue to be at the forefront of the growth of our industry.

We have allocated strategic resources in line with BRIGHT. To date, MTN Ghana has invested significantly in:

• Our network – over GHS 2.5bn of capex in the last 5 years;
• Our people – we believe we have built the most experienced board, management and staff team in the industry;
• Our distribution – most expansive and elastic. 230,000 retailers and mobile money merchants, 1,700 field and retail agents, almost 500 branches and official service points and 9 main distributors;
• Our country – GHS 3.5bn of corporate taxes (¬3% of government taxes) paid in the last five years, in addition to GHS 161m paid in NFSL and GHS 661m paid in CST; and
• Our future – we have focused on data including Home Broadband, Digital and Mobile Financial Services, the high growth areas of the industry. As a result our revenues from these services have increased more than 5-fold since 2013.

Sustaining these investments, along with our unrelenting focus on innovation and development tailored towards our customers’ needs, should ensure that MTN Ghana remains a pacesetter and maintains its position as the best telecoms operator in Ghana.

Today marks the beginning of a rare and exciting opportunity for Ghanaians to invest in Ghana’s best:

• Ghana’s best in Mobile Voice, with 17.8m subscribers representing a 47.6% market share;
• Ghana’s best in Mobile Data, with 12 million active subscribers, representing a 56.5% market share; and
• Ghana’s best in Mobile Money, with 11.6m registered wallets, and a 93.9% market share of mobile money float.

Since 2013, we have built a track record of translating significant investment into strong financial performance:
• 18% annual revenue growth;
• 39.2% average EBITDA margins;
• 39.3% average return on equity; and
• 56.2% of net profit, on average, paid out as dividends to shareholders (dividend payout).

Thus, our excitement is rooted in the fact that Ghanaians, by investing in MTN Ghana, will benefit (and share our risks) as we maintain our track record of investing in our business, focusing on high growth opportunities and delivering attractive financial returns, double-digit revenue, strong profit margins and a dividend payout target of 60.00%, to our shareholders.

So, on this historic day as we move into another phase of our business, which seeks to give Ghanaians that unique opportunity to own a share of MTN, I am excited to state that the public share offer of MTN Ghana begins today and will end on July 31st 2018 at 5pm. The entire offer period is for two months after which the allotment will begin. We are hoping that by September we would have ended the entire process for listing to begin.

Interested applicants may contact our receiving banks or visit MTN Branches. I am very delighted to say that we are also allowing shares to be bought through Mobile Money. Our checks from GSMA confirms that this is the first time that Mobile Money will be used to buy shares in an IPO (and subsequently trade them) anywhere in Africa OR the world over. This channel demonstrates another use case for Mobile Money and will accelerate financial inclusion in the capital markets of Ghana, for many people in the length and breadth of this country who would not ordinarily have access to the capital markets.
I will leave out the rest of the information on the IPO for the CEO of IC Securities to deliver.

Ladies and gentlemen, our efforts to go public started a few years ago as you may recall and it is appropriate that on this day we recognize those who have done extremely well to make it possible.
To the members of the Board, executive committee, and all the various teams who worked tirelessly both internally and externally to make this possible, I say Ayekoo!!!.

Beyond thanking our Regulators and sector Ministries as I did earlier, I cannot end without showing appreciation to the Master Chefs behind this IPO. It has taken them over 2 years of hard work juggling among several masters – multiple of them in Ghana alone and an equal matrix at Group level.

– IC Securities, Sao Capital, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah and KPMG and of course with the support of our hardworking staff – Pala, Modupe, Noel/Guido.

On behalf of the Board and the leadership of MTN, I would like to express our appreciation to the Government and the good people of Ghana for the great support you give to MTN’s business. Our determination to return equal measure of transparent responsibility remains.

Today our localization has gone beyond just getting a few investors to have a share of the company. The exciting thing about this offer is that we are seeking to get as many Ghanaians as possible to invest in MTN Ghana.

Distinguished guests, with this public offer, we are challenged to ensure that MTN Ghana remains a profitable, robust and sustainable digital company that will continue to provide excellent services to all Ghanaians. We look into the future with brighter hope, poised to lead the delivery of a BOLD NEW DIGITAL WORLD.
God bless MTN, God Bless our Homeland Ghana

Thank you all.

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