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MTN shares race on peaceful Nigerian vote

01 April 2015, 17:00Janice Kew

Lagos - MTN Group [JSE:MTN], Africa’s biggest wireless operator, increased the most in almost five years after former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari won a largely peaceful vote in Nigeria, the South African company’s biggest market.

The shares advanced as much as 6.6%, the most since May 2010, and traded 5.6% higher at R216.45 in post-lunch time trade on the JSE. That pared the year’s decline to 2.2%, valuing the company at R400bn ($33bn).

Also read: Buhari claims victory in historic Nigerian vote

Nigerian stocks rose the most in five years and bonds rallied after Buhari defeated President Goodluck Jonathan, the first victory over an incumbent since independence from the UK in 1960. Nigeria’s all-share index jumped 8.3% to 34 388.03 points in Lagos, the commercial capital, the biggest gain since March 2010 and the highest level since January 5.

“Nigeria has gone through a democratic process which re- enforces the country’s outlook,” Bruce Main, a money manager at Ivy Asset Management in Johannesburg, said by phone.

“There is confidence that there are not going to be any major legislative changes. That’s good news for a company like MTN, which gets a huge portion of earnings from Nigeria.”

MTN had 59.9 million subscribers in Nigeria at the end of 2014, compared with 223 million across all 22 markets. Sales in Africa’s most populous country gained 12% last year, compared with a 6.4% increase in total revenue.

- Bloomberg


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