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MTN shares gain most in five years

By on April 3, 2015

MTN Group Limited, 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.

According to Bloomberg, the shares advanced as much as 6.6 per cent, the most since May 2010, and traded 5.6 per cent higher at 216.45 rand in Johannesburg. That pared the year’s decline to 2.2 per cent, valuing the company at 400 billion rand ($33 billion).

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 United Kingdom in 1960. Nigeria’s all-share index jumped 8.3 per cent to 34,388.03 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,” a money manager at Ivy Asset Management in Johannesburg, Bruce Main told Bloomberg.

“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 per cent last year, compared with a 6.4 per cent increase in total revenue.