MTN Group Limited shares 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 Africa’s most populous country.
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to clear MTN of wrongdoing in its repatriation of dividends over an eight-year period means it will cost the Johannesburg-based company just $52.6 million to satisfy Nigerian officials over their concerns with a 2008 private placement.
The terms of the deal were a positive surprise to investors, even with the company and officials having signaled that a resolution was likely. Nigerian authorities originally wanted a full reversal of the $8.1 billion of dividends.
MTN has had persistent run-ins with authorities as it chases big sales growth opportunities in Nigeria. There are still major hurdles for it to overcome in its largest market: Nigeria has ongoing claims to $2 billion of back taxes. MTN also faces geopolitical risks tied to its businesses in Syria and Iran.
The latest discord has obstructed a plan to list the local unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a measure to which MTN agreed after it missed a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers. That issue led to a $1 billion penalty for MTN and its firs