MTN Seeks More Than $1 Billion From Dollar Bond Sale

  • Wireless carrier wants $500 million apiece from two bonds
  • Offering is first venture to Eurobond market since 2014

The Johannesburg-based company is seeking to raise at least $500 million apiece from five- and 10-year bonds, said the person, who asked not to be identified as details are private.

The five-year note is being offered at a yield ranging from 5.375 percent to 5.5 percent, according to another person familiar with the matter. MTN is also marketing a 10-year bond at about 6.5 percent, the second person said, more than 80 basis points over the yield of its outstanding bond due in 2024.

“The initial guidance is quite generous, well over the existing bond, but there’s a lot of economic and regulatory uncertainty in both South Africa and Nigeria,” Richard Segal, a senior analyst at Manulife Asset Management in London, said by phone.

MTN’s bond sale comes after South Africa last week raised $3 billion in its biggest Eurobond offering, taking advantage of demand for emerging-market debt. The company is seeking funds after it reported its first-ever half-year loss, partly caused by an agreement to settle a 330 billion naira ($1 billion) fine with Nigerian regulators.

The carrier’s global subscriber base of 233 million didn’t grow during the six months through June, while MTN is struggling to repatriate 15.4 billion rand ($1.1 billion) tied up in its Iran unit. MTN said last month that it entered three loan agreements with local and international banks and financial institutions, raising more than $1.3 billion.

Barclays Plc, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc. and Standard Bank Group Ltd. were joint bookrunners on the latest bond sales.

MTN shares declined 116.36 rand as of 1:22 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 215 billion rand.

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