Company news in brief

15 March 2019 | Business

MTN to list Nigerian unit

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.

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 US$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. – Nampa/Reuters

Eni makes major oil find in Angola

Italian company Eni said on Wednesday it had made a major oil discovery in Angola that would boost its credentials as one of the most successful foreign oil producers in Africa in recent years.

The find is Angola's largest offshore discovery in years and may help Africa's second-biggest crude producer avoid a steep decline in output due to the ageing of its other fields.

Oil accounts for 95% of exports and around 70% of revenues, and the government has recently offered better fiscal terms and more collaboration to international energy firms in an effort to help its mostly impoverished population.

Eni said its new Agogo prospect in Angola's deep waters contained between 450 million and 650 million barrels of light oil with potential for further upside.

Data from the exploration well pointed to a production capacity of more than 20 000 barrels of oil per day, it said. – Nampa/Reuters

Jumia pushes ahead with New York listing

Jumia, the African e-commerce company of German start-up investor Rocket Internet, has filed for a New York initial public offering, which could value the firm at US$1.6 billion or more.

Jumia, founded in 2012 offers online shopping, logistics and payment services, but is losing money. The company says its business is expanding, and the continent's development will make it a better market, with a growing young population, more infrastructure investments, urbanisation and rapid economic growth.

The New York filing did not say how many shares Jumia would sell, nor at what price. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Berenberg and RBC Capital Markets are leading the IPO.

In December, Jumia was valued at 1.4 billion euros (US$1.6 billion) with shares at 14.74 euros, according to the filing.

Jumia, which now counts Nigeria as its largest market, makes money both selling its own products, and taking a cut from third-party sales. In 2018, revenues were 130.6 million euros, up from 94 million euros the previous year. – Nampa/Reuters

VW halts truck unit IPO

Volkswagen said on Wednesday it would halt preparations for an initial public offering (IPO) of its trucks unit Traton until market conditions improve.

The automaker had previously said it could list up to 25% of Traton in a deal that was expected to raise 5-6 billion euros (US$12 billion) and be Germany's biggest share offering this year.

Volkswagen has in recent days been considering modifying its plan, and mulled measures like reducing the stake of Traton that it planned to float to 15% from 25%, people close to the matter said.

On Tuesday, Volkswagen's chief financial officer Frank Witter said the board unanimously backed the idea of listing Traton but warned markets remained volatile.

Traton includes the MAN, Scania and Volkswagen trucks businesses. Volkswagen had aimed to list it as part of its drive to create a global trucks business. – Nampa/Reuters

Lufthansa eyes stable margins

Lufthansa forecast stable margins and revenue growth in the mid-single digits this year as it eyes cautious expansion in the busy summer months, manages costs and targets break even at its budget airline Eurowings.

Germany's biggest airline, reporting an 11% decline in fourth-quarter operating profits, said it would focus on "quality" growth this year and reduce growth in its peak summer capacity to 1.9%.

Lufthansa's acquisition of Air Berlin removed a key competitor on its home market, but the cost of integrating the operation has hurt profitability and its share price, which has declined by 12% over the past 12 months.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell by 11% to 378 million euros (US$428 million) in the seasonally-quiet fourth quarter, Lufthansa said, just below a mean forecast of 397 million euros in a poll of analysts.

For 2018 as a whole, Lufthansa's EBIT margin declined to 7.9% from 8.3%. The company, which employs more than 135 000 people, forecast a margin of between 6.5 and 8% in 2019. – Nampa/Reuters

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