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JSE halts trading in MTN Group shares

mtnTHE Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) yesterday halted trading in MTN Group shares, pending an announcement from the company.

The stock tumbled last week after MTN was slammed with a fine of N1.04 trillion ($5.2 billion) fines in Nigeria, by the communications commission. The company’s bonds dropped for a third day, driving yields to a record.

MTN allegedly breached SIM card registration rules, as it failed to disconnect customers with unregistered SIM cards totalling about 5.2 million. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) requires mobile network operators to register all customers in a bid to curb crime.

According to bdlive.co.za, which quoted JSE Director Issuer Regulation, John Burke, “the JSE has halted all trading on MTN Group Limited. Trading will resume as soon as MTN Group Limited has issued a SENS announcement.” The JSE is also investigating the company over possible insider trading.

Also, Bloomberg has it that the telecommunications firm’s stock fell as much as 9.7 per cent before paring losses and was the biggest decliner on the benchmark FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index. Trading was halted with the stock 5.3 per cent down at 149.48 rand by 10:33 a.m. in Johannesburg.

The securities have slid 22 per cent since MTN said it’s facing the fine on Octoer 26.

Investors “were expecting something to come out at the weekend and it hasn’t, and now the pressure is on because they’ve been told that they have to pay this fine by next week,” Rob Pietropaolo, a trader at Vunani Private Clients (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “Because of their lack of communication, investors are punishing the share and obviously running for safety.”

The JSE halted all trading in the stock, which will resume once MTN has released a statement, the JSE said in an e-mailed statement.



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