Tension mounts as GSE seeks Communications Ministry help on Vodafone listing

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

A dispute between officials of the Ghana Stock Exchange and Vodafone Ghana over the enlistment of Vodafone on the Ghana Stock Market has taken a new twist, as the former seeks the invention of the sector ministry to force Vodafone to list on the stock market.

Following the acquisition of a 4G LTE Spectrum License by Vodafone from the National Communications Authority (NCA) last month, officials of the Ghana Stock Market during the early part of January 2019 has been mounting pressure on Ghana’s third network provider by market share to initiate moves to list on the stock market.

So far MTN Ghana is the only mobile network operator listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange after ceding 35 per cent of its ownership to the Ghanaian public during an IPO in 2018 as part of the regulator’s requirement for operating 4G spectrum in the country.

The call from GSE to Vodafone to list on the stock market has not gone down well with the mobile network operator who is now upgrading its existing infrastructure to roll out its new 4G technology nationwide.

The initial reaction from Vodafone officials including its Chief Executive Officer, Yolanda Cuba has been a big no, arguing that Vodafone already satisfied this requirement, since the Government of Ghana owns 30 per cent of the company.

The Ghana Stock Exchange has decided to engage the Ministry of Communication to persuade Vodafone to consider enlisting on the stock market. Speaking to journalists, the Chief Executive Officer Ghana of the Stock Exchange, Kofi Yamoah disclosed that his outfit is in talks with Ministry of Communications to compel telecom company Vodafone to float part of its shares on the bourse as a requirement after it purchased a 4G spectrum.

He believes that compelling Vodafone to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange will not only strengthen Vodafone’s operations in the country but also provide Ghanaians an opportunity to own part of a company that was originally Ghanaian.

“When Ghana Telecom was being sold to Vodafone in 2008, part of the agreement required that Vodafone lists on the market but till now it is yet to be fulfilled.”

But the Director of External Affairs at Vodafone Ghana, Gayheart Mensah insists that the bid documents or the license condition surrounding the 4G LTE acquisition did not mandate licensees to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

“4G LTE License conditions DO NOT mandate licensees to launch an IPO on the GSE and nowhere in the bid documents or the license condition is reference even made to listing. The notion of compelling Vodafone to list on the GSE is therefore misplaced,” it said.

He said Vodafone Ghana has already satisfied this requirement, since the Government of Ghana owns 30 per cent of the company and that an IPO on the exchange is, therefore, not required.

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