DESPITE investors apathy fuelled by collapse of stock
markets as a result of the global financial meltdown, the Nigerian Stock
Exchange (NSE) yesterday listed the country\'s major telecommunications
infrastructure service provider, IHS Nigeria Plc.
Its entire 4.4 billion shares at N5 are up for grabs. IHS,
was licensed in 2001 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as
telecoms infrastructure and co-location service providers.
At exactly 1.36 p.m. yesterday, the NSE formally listed by
introduction of 4.4 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N5 per share in
the name of IHS Nigeria Plc, a telecom infrastructure provider.
With the listing, the market capitalisation of the NSE
swelled by N22 billion after dipping significantly since the beginning of the
Besides, the company became the first to be listed on the
stock exchange this year, thus raising hopes of soonest recovery of the market,
and some of the company\'s shares were offered to the stockbrokers for trading
Speaking at the listing ceremony, the company Managing
Director, Mr. William Saad, who led other members of management said the
company is the number one telecom infrastructure provider in Nigeria and is
glad to join the league of quoted companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
He told stockbrokers that the company has come a long way,
having commenced operation in 2001 and was adjudged the best telecoms
infrastructure provider in 2008.
Before the listing, the stockbrokers to the company, PSL
Limited, represented by Mr. Bolaji Aderinwale said the company recently
concluded a private placement and has fulfilled all regulatory requirements for
listing and has paid all the required fees.
In his own remarks, the doyen of stockbrokers, Mr. Olu
Odejimi, commended the company for coming to list its shares on the stock
exchange even at a time stocks are not doing well, which indicated that the
company has confidence in the growth of the market.
With 1,400 turnkay cell sites built by it and 1,000 others
under its management for telecommunications operators, IHS has become in less
than seven years operators\' operator as all the major telecommunications
operators including MTN Nigeria; Globacom; Zain; Starcomms; Telecom among
others run some of their operations on IHS infrastructure including masts,
towers, base stations, among others.
With about $400 million ploughed into its operations
recently, which analysts describe as a major stir in the industry, its owners
led by Bashir El-Rufai said they have absolute confidence in the Nigerian
economy despite the expressed fears of global financial crunch.
IHS is the first company to be listed on the exchange this
year, and it is also the first telecoms instrastructure service provider to be
El-Rufai said IHS would weather the storm \"because we
are ready to let go even as investors in other climes keep vigil over their
businesses.\" \"In a time of global economic uncertainty, investors
still have to take the risks associated with businesses.\"
Saad stated that the strong belief of IHS in the continuous
growth of the telecom sector within the Nigerian economy and the confidence in
the management and staff of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, strongly encouraged
the board and management of IHS to list on the floor at this crucial period.
The listing follows a successful private placement of the
company last year, with a promise to investors and Nigerians that they will
benefit from the shares.
Saad reiterated that the company which was one of the first
companies to be awarded a Collocation and Infrastructure Sharing licence by the
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) , has made its mark in the provision
of infrastructure by building more than 1,400 full turnkey sites. The company
also currently manages more than 1,000 sites for the various operators in the
country and has begun the construction of 500 collocation sites (with the first
batch of 53 sites completed in November 2008). Saad emphasised that the company
which conducts activities in the various states of the federation with a
workforce of more than 300 employees and over 100 sub-contractors only recently
concluded a very successful, private placement, where investors who are looking
for value stocks with strong fundamentals, participated.
IHS commenced operations in 2001 by providing turnkey
solutions for telecommunications operators and vendors who seek to build
telecommunications infrastructure for fixed and wireless telecommunications
services. IHS Nigeria PLC is: ISO 9001:2000 certified and fully licensed by The
Nigerian Communications Commission (\"NCC\") to provide Collocation
The company is involved in three main aspects of business
namely, telecommunications infrastructure collocation and sharing,
infrastructure built and post-construction management (operation and
maintenance). A breakdown of the functions of the company shows that under the
telecommunications infrastructure build: IHS handles all sides of telecommunications
network construction starting from site acquisition and design, equipment
supply, all sorts of construction and installation, to finish with integration
Infrastructure Lease and Collocation: Under this model IHS
builds its own sites, and makes them available for all telecom operators,
internet service providers, banks and companies, etc ... for their networks
use. This method saves these operators huge amount of CAPEX and allows them to
focus on quality issues and network coverage.
It is worthy to note that for the purpose of
diversification, and due to its belief that the Nigerian Power sector is the
next booming sector of the economy, IHS already started doing some business for
PHCN and continually seeks other opportunities. The Board of Directors of IHS
has El-Rufai (chairman), Saad (managing director), Gbenga Onakomaiya
(director/chief commercial officer), Engr. Issam Darwish (director), Moustapha
Aminu (director) and Jimoh Umoru (general manager/company secretary).
The competitive advantages of the company lies in its being
a contractor that worked for most, if not all, of Nigeria\'s telecommunications
operators and vendors as well. The importance it puts on high quality standards
and training, being an ISO 9001:2000 certified since 2006 and being a one-stop
shop providing all types of services for the telecommunications infrastructure.
I H S has a large pool of well trained direct workforce compromising of all
backgrounds and has worked in almost every state in the nation with an extensive
experience in the Niger Delta area. The company has also displayed its
expertise in corporate governance where it prides itself on true values, which
include accountability, effectiveness, integrity, and responsibility in
compliance with ethical conduct.
Saad disclosed that the company in future is not planning to
restrict its expansion to the existing model, but will through direct contracts
and partly through joint ventures with different groups as the need may arise,
plan to go deeper into the telecommunications sector and target other sectors
where synergies can be developed. It will also increase investments in building
collocation sites also in 2009 and build sites owned by it to be
leased/collocated to Nigeria\'s operators. It will also drive expansion into
other African countries and build infrastructure for the electric and power
industry in Nigeria and well as explore the possibility of tower and shelter
manufacturing in Nigeria.
El-Rufai, recently emphasised that given the modest
beginning and the financial projections, the company has shown tremendous
potential of becoming a major commercial enterprise.
\"We have carefully chosen a tested and capable
management team, led by a well-experienced and knowledgeable Chief Executive
Officer. Also, on the current Board are distinguished Nigerians with proven
track records in their chosen fields. It is intended that the company will be
strengthened to generate high volumes of profitable business in the short and
medium term,\" he stated. -ngrguardiannews