MTN shares rise on report that Nigeria could reduce $10.1 bln fine

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A general view shows MTN head office in Lagos, Nigeria October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Shares in South Africa’s MTN Group rose 2.6 percent on Wednesday on a media report that Nigerian authorities could reduce the $10.1 billion sum they are demanding from the telecoms company in a dispute.

The sum covers the return of funds transferred overseas by MTN and a separate $2 billion tax bill.

“Someone in the Nigerian government has said the fine will come down,” said Greg Davies, equities trader at Cratos Capital referring to a report by Nigerian newspaper Vanguard which did not disclose its sources. A second trader cited the same report.

A spokeswoman for MTN said she could not yet comment on whether the report was accurate.

Nigeria’s central bank on Aug. 29 ordered the South African firm and its lenders to bring $8.1 billion back into Nigeria that it alleges the company sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations.

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Susan Fenton

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