The JSE has suspended trading in MTN shares with immediate effect.
The halt in trading comes after the share price went on a rollercoaster ride on Monday morning following reports in the Nigerian media that MTN had agreed to pay the full US$5,2bn fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“The JSE has halted trading in MTN Group Limited shares pending an announcement from the company,” the Johannesburg bourse said in a statement.
Nigerian publication Vanguard reported on Monday morning that MTN would pay the fine in full, but was negotiating to pay it off over a staggered period.
However, a source close to MTN said on Monday that the Vanguard article was not correct.
MTN’s share price fell by more than 10% at one point in trading on Monday morning, driven lower by speculation.
It is not immediately clear when the JSE’s suspension of trading in MTN shares will be lifted.
The shares were changing hands at R149,48, down by 5,3% on Friday’s close, when trading was halted.
MTN is already facing a probe by the JSE into possible insider trading related to the timing of its first statement to shareholders about the Nigerian fine.
The group informed shareholders at 2.24pm last Monday that Nigerian media reports published in the early hours of Monday morning stating that the NCC has imposed the record-setting fine, were, in fact, correct. By that time, the share price had already fallen significantly.
But MTN insiders, speaking on condition of anonymity, have rubbished talk of insider trading and said the group will cooperate fully with any JSE investigation. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media
- See also: Nigeria: MTN calls in the big guns