Settlement of $8.1 bn case lifts MTN shares

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MTN Group Ltd. shares on Thursday jumped as much as 8.2 percent after the phone carrier settled allegations it illegally transferred $8.1 billion of funds out of Nigeria, ending a crisis that had threatened its operations in the country.

MTN announced on Monday that it would pay just $52.6 million to end the dispute in Nigeria, its biggest and most lucrative market, but also its most troublesome.

The case had dogged MTN, Africa’s biggest telecoms company, for four months, dragging its share price down 20 percent to hover around its lowest level since 2009 while also sparking pessimism around the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

It centred on allegations that dividends paid by the firm between 2007 and 2015 were based on improperly issued certificates.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had initially ordered MTN and its lenders to bring back $8.1 billion it alleged the company had illegally repatriated to South Africa during that time.

But after MTN provided additional documents, the CBN concluded only one 2008 private placement, worth around $1 billion, was irregular.

Source: VANGUARD

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