The visible hand
TIM COHEN: Is MTN a ‘screaming buy’ or a shorting opportunity?
And what was the PIC doing hiking its stake at a rather suspicious time?
What do investors do with MTN? Perhaps more importantly, what is the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) doing with MTN? Let’s look at general investors first. Over the Christmas period, MTN got what I suppose you could call excellent news, in the sense that the previous bad news was obviated. MTN announced it had escaped from its $8bn spat with the Nigerian central bank with a token $53m settlement, which was a fraction of the $800m demand touted by the Nigerian media when the dispute broke out. Rather strangely, at least to me, the share price initially responded fairly well to the news, but nowhere nearly as much as it fell when the news first broke, and it gave up its gains quickly. In some ways this is understandable. MTN is still in a dispute with the Nigerian government over a different issue. Given that Nigerian authorities have already tapped the MTN piggy bank once for $1bn two years ago, the prospect of this happening again some time in the future will always now hang ove...