MTN’s love for high-risk emerging markets has come back to bite it again. The mobile operator’s shares collapsed on Thursday, crashing 19.4% to R86.50 and bringing losses for investors in 2018 so far to a whopping R95bn. The latest spark was a demand by Nigerian regulators that it return as much as $8.1bn (R119bn) they say the SA company moved out of the country illegally. This is just the latest blow for Africa’s biggest cellphone company by subscribers, which has been hammered by US President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran, meaning it may not be able to repatriate R3.4bn from that country. MTN said on Thursday the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) told it that dividends it moved from the country between 2007 and 2015 had to be returned. That pushed MTN’s share price down 19.4% to R86.50 on Thursday, the lowest close in nearly a decade. MTN, which was cleared of wrongdoing by the senate of Nigeria in November 2017, said the re-emergence of the issue was “regrettable” and would weigh ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now