PIC increases stake in MTN

The Public Investment Corporation has boosted its shareholding in mobile operator, MTN.

The country’s largest asset manager, which oversees R2 trillion in assets, increased its stake in the group from around 15% to 23.6%

The purchase price was not disclosed.

With MTN currently facing a $10.1 billion crisis in Nigeria, the PIC investment is being seen as the group betting on the yellow network, in a vote of confidence.

MTN has suffered several blows due to its operations in Nigeria over the years, which have led to multi-billion dollar claims by the country’s authorities, and an exodus of executives at the group.

A shock $5.2 billion fine in Nigeria in 2015 embroiled MTN in 10 months of negotiations and prompted a management overhaul. Earlier in 2018, authorities in the West African nation announced another round of multi-billion-dollar demands.

In the latest claim, Nigerian authorities have accused MTN of expatriating $8.1 billion in dividend without permission. The country added another $2 billion fine to the mix in relation to taxes.

MTN’s market cap has halved since the initial Nigerian crisis, with the carrier currently valued at R166 billion.

In afternoon trade on the JSE, MTN shares were a fraction of a percentage higher, trading at R88.19.

Read: MTN executive exits amid Nigeria crisis

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PIC increases stake in MTN