On the day Phuthuma Nhleko took over as executive chairman of MTN Group in early November 2015, the share price closed at R160. Last week, on his last day in that role, MTN stock ended the day at R122.30, valuing the group at R230bn. True, that is a marked improvement from the low of R107/share in late October last year. But it is still quite a bitter pill to swallow for the cellphone operator’s investors, who have seen the market capitalisation of their asset plummet from the lofty heights of R496bn in September 2014. Nhleko, however, exudes the calm confidence of a man who has delivered on the expectations of investors, despite the firm reporting its first net loss in 20 years. "The share price doesn’t reflect the future prospects of the business," he says, leaning back on a grey synthetic couch in his office a few hours before handing the reins to new CEO Rob Shuter. He wouldn’t, however, be drawn on what he deems to be the correct value for MTN, other than that it would be signi...

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