South African State Pension Fund Raises Stake in MTN to 23.6%

Enterprise Network-MTN Revenue Climbs on Data, Serves 20m Nigerians Exclusively

South African State Pension Fund Raises Stake in MTN to 23.6%

Regulatory filings on Wednesday showed that a South African state-owned pension fund has raised its stake in mobile phone operator MTN Group to nearly 24 per cent, a bet on the company in the middle of $10.1 billion dispute with Nigeria.

The Public Investment Corporation, which has more than 2 trillion rand ($143.22 billion) of South African government civil servants’ pensions under its custody, had a stake of around 15 per cent in the company before the transaction.

The purchase price was not disclosed but shares in MTN have been battered since it disclosed two separate disputes with Nigerian authorities.

Nigeria’s Central Bank on Aug. 29 ordered MTN and its lenders to bring $8.1 billion back into Nigeria that it alleges the company sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations. In addition, MTN faces a separate $2 billion tax bill from authorities in Nigeria.

The stock had fallen around 20 per cent since then. By 12:20 GMT the shares were trading slightly higher at 88.32 rand.

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