Belinda Mapongwana takes chair at MTNZF, Newsline

JOHANNESBURG – MTN Zakhele Futhi (MTNZF), the ring-fenced special purpose vehicle established by Africa’s biggest mobile giant, MTN Group, has appointed attorney and businesswoman Belinda Mapongwana as its new chairperson.

MTNZF said on Friday that Mapongwana had taken the reins on Wednesday (September 16) as Sindi Mabaso-Koyana’s successor who was appointed on the MTN board as an independent non-executive director and chairperson of the audit committee as from next month.

Mapongwana is expected to step down as a member of the MTN Group’s Audit and Risk Committee due to her appointment as chairperson of the board.

Last month MTNZF flagged the possibility of a liquidity crunch after MTN withheld the distribution of an interim dividend amid the potential effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the financial position of the business over the mid-term.

Given that MTN is MTNZF’s only material investment, MTNZF said the decision not to declare a dividend was expected to have a material impact on its share price. However, following discussions with MTN and the preference share funders to find solutions to mitigate the blow, MTN last month stepped in with an R15 million injection to resolve the MTNZF liquidity shortfall. “MTNZF shareholders are advised to continue exercising caution when dealing in MTNZF ordinary shares until the company’s interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, are released, as there may be other liquidity issues which may have a material effect on the price of MTNZF’s ordinary shares,” MTNZF said in a statement on Friday.

MTNZF holds 77million MTN shares, amounting to approximately 4percent of MTN’s issued share capital and debuted on the JSE last November, when the open trade value was 95percent lower than expected. It was disappointing given that MTN Zakhele, the company’s last empowerment vehicle, had delivered returns to investors of more than 20percent per year.

The poor performance of the shares has left investors in the shares disillusioned and disappointed.

On the first day of trade, MTNZF’s share price hit a low of 82c and ended at R4.80 and angered investors who had originally forked out R20.00 per share back in 2016.

MTNZF will be listed for a minimum period of five years, until November 25, 2024.