Investors scramble for cheap MTN shares

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

The blacks-only Asonge Share Scheme received an overwhelming response on Monday - the first day of share sales.

South African post offices were inundated with people flocking to get their forms.

This week the National Empowerment Fund opened the scheme to formerly disadvantaged groups (African, Coloured and Indian) so that they could own a share of cellphone company MTN.

National Empowerment Fund marketing and communications manager Moemise Motsepe said the shares were bought by the state seven years ago and given to the fund to act as a custodian.

Motsepe said the fund was fulfilling a cabinet mandate to sell government-owned shares to empower specific groups, and encourage a culture of investing and exposure to the stock exchange.

"We conducted a lot of roadshows to inform the general public and also approached stokvel investment groups to make them aware of the opportunity," said Motsepe.

A total of 11,7 million shares are on offer until August 16, 2007 at noon. A minimum investment of R2000 is required, with a maximum of R50000 for individuals and R100000 for black investment groups.

The share price of R79,61 has been discounted by 20 percent from R99,51. If the price goes down further then the shares will be sold at the closing price on the August 30.