NSSF buys 43.3% of MTN’s unsold shares

NSSF continues to consolidate its investment in MTN Uganda, which is one of its largest income sources. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • The additional purchase effectively increases  NSSF’s stake in MTN from the  initial public offering holding of 8.84 percent to 11.7 percent

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) acquired nearly half of MTN Uganda’s unsold shares, increasing its stake to 11.7 percent from 8.84 percent.

Details of the share allocation from MTN’s secondary offer announced on May 27, and published yesterday indicate that NSSF increased its IPO holding by 649.6 million shares, rising its stake from 1.98 billion to 2.62 billion shares. 

The increase signals the Fund’s continued confidence in one of Uganda’s most profitable companies, and consolidates its position as the second biggest shareholder in MTN Uganda, after MTN International, whose holding has reduced from 83.05 percent to 76 percent. 

The shares, details indicate, cost NSSF Shs90.9b, with each bought at Shs170. The offer was been discounted by 17.8 percent with 30 free shares given for every 140 applications. 

In 2021, NSSF paid Shs360b for 1.98 billion shares it acquired during the initial public offering (IPO).

On May 27, MTN announced a secondary market offer for its 1.57 billion unsold shares, which means that NSSF’s 649.6 million purchase represents 43.3 percent of the offer.  The unsold shares or 7.05 percent stake had been held by MTN International, the parent company of MTN Uganda, since 2021.

The MTN stock is one of NSSF’s biggest revenue earners, which, during the year ended December 2023, contributed to a combined dividend income of Shs145.1b, from Shs99.88b in December 2022. 

In its 2023 annual report, NSSF indicated that the growth in dividend income was largely driven by MTN and Stanbic in Uganda, boosted by earnings from Equity Group, Safaricom, East African Breweries, National Microfinance Bank, in Kenya and Cooperative Rural Development Bank, in Tanzania. 

The Fund primarily earns from interest income, which generates 93 percent of its revenues, supported by real estate holdings, and dividend income. 

NSSF indicates that the largest share of its equity investment is held in MTN, valued at Shs336.6b, followed by Tanzania Breweries (Shs213.4b) and Trade Development Bank (Shs189.2b), respectively. It also holds substantial stakes in Safaricom, Equity, Cooperative Rural Development Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, National Microfinance Bank, East African Breweries, Umeme, Tanzania Portland Cement, and Stanbic Bank. 

In its notice, MTN indicated that Charles Mbire, the telecom’s chairman, had increased his stake to 4 percent from 3.99 percent, with an additional purchase of 3.3 million shares, raising his holding from 892.2 million shares to 895.5 million.

First Rand Bank, which added 535 million shares to its holding from the IPO purchase of 22 million shares, replaces National Social Security Fund (Pinebridge) as the fourth largest shareholder with a stake of 1.6 percent from 0.1 percent. 

The new structure further indicates that JPM FRB A/C Africa Partners Fund SPC now holds a 0.9 percent stake, with 199.3 million shares, while National Social Security Fund (2) holds 0.4 percent with 97.2 million shares. 

Other shareholders include BNYMSNV – SBSA IML LAU (0.4 percent), BNYMSNV BHF Asset Management (0.2 percent), SSB Russell Investment Company Plc Fund (0.2 percent), Bank of Uganda Defined Benefit Scheme (1) (0.2 percent) and others (3.5 percent).  

The MTN secondary offer was highly oversubscribed, returning an application of 3 billion shares, which was at least 1.42 billion shares higher than the offer of 1.57 billion residual shares. 

The secondary sale was in fulfillment of regulatory obligations that required the telecom to sell unsold shares from its IPO within three years of listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange.

Top 10 shareholders in MTN Uganda

Shareholder  

Shares (Old) 

Shares (New)

MTN International

18.5b  

17.01b 

NSSF 

1.98b 

2.62b 

Charles Mbire  

892.2m

895.5m

First Rand Bank

22m 

557m 

JPM RFB A/C 

199.3m

NSSF (2)   

-

92.7m

BNYMSANV - SBSA 

-

81.4m 

BNYMSANV - BHF   

52.6m 

SSB Russell  

50

46.2m 

Bank of Uganda Defined Benefits   

12.8m

42m 

Others

554m

773.3m