MTN’s shares rise after Nigerian central bank talks up amicable solution
The mobile operator and Nigerian authorities are working towards an amicable settlement of their differences
MTN’s shares recovered to their best level in more than two weeks on Thursday after authorities in Nigeria said they were working towards an amicable solution to a standoff that has played havoc with the mobile operator’s stock. The group’s shares, which dipped below R70 for the first time in 12 years earlier this week, closed 6.5% up at R78.17 after Nigeria’s central bank said it was angling towards “an equitable resolution”. Mergence Investment Managers portfolio manager Peter Takaendesa said that since the market currently valued MTN’s Nigerian business at almost zero, “any news of a potential resolution should be supportive of the share price”. The central bank told MTN in late August, when MTN’s shares were at R107.34, that it had to return $8.1bn worth of dividends it repatriated “illegally” between 2007 and 2015. It also fined four banks, including Standard Bank’s Nigerian unit, for their role in transferring the funds.
Less than a week after that announcement, Nigeria’...