MTN shares resume trading, warns shareholders

MTN says its shares have resumed trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), having been halted earlier on Monday amid reports that Africa’s largest mobile operator had agreed to pay a $5.2 billion fine in Nigeria.

Shares in MTN fell by 5.27% to R149.48 on Monday before trade was halted. The company has wiped off more than R110 from its share price since August last year, when it reached a high of R262.50.

“After the company’s announcement released on SENS at 13h33, trading in the company’s shares will resume with a ten minute re-opening auction at 13h40,” MTN said in a statement.

The mobile operator has for some time been a heavy hitter on the JSE, ranking among the top 10 most valuable, with a market cap exceeding R450 billion by the end of 2014. That figure however, has dwindled to R290 billion.

The report by Nigeria’s Vanguard website, cited unnamed sources saying that MTN had agreed to pay the fine, pleading for a staggered payment model.

According to a report by Bloomberg, MTN has not agreed to the fine, and is continuing to engage with Nigerian authorities to challenge it.

The Nigerian Communications Commission hit MTN with a 1.04 trillion naira ($5.2 billion) fine on the 26th of October, for failing to disconnect over 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards on its network.

In An earlier announcement on the JSE’s newswires platform, MTN requested that shareholders continue to exercise caution when dealing in its securities.

“The company reiterates that engagements with the Nigerian authorities are continuing   and any material developments in these enagagements will be communicated to shareholders through SENS.

“Shareholders should specifically exercise caution when reacting to information on this matter which has not been released by the company,” it said.

The JSE on Friday started an investigation into the timing of MTN Group’s announcement on Monday that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had fined them.

“The investigation will follow due process to establish whether there have been any breaches of the listings requirements and can be a lengthy process,” said Andre Visser, head of Issuer Regulation at the JSE, in a statement on Friday.

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MTN shares resume trading, warns shareholders