Exposure to Nigeria could force S&P’s hand on MTN
Clashes with authorities over taxes and regulatory breaches put the company on shaky ratings ground
MTN is at risk of having its debt downgraded by ratings agency S&P Global Ratings over the next 12 months if the mobile network operator increases its relative exposure to Nigeria.
MTN Nigeria’s business has faced run-ins with regulators over the past five years. In 2016, MTN agreed to pay $1.7bn (R27.15bn) to settle a fine over unregistered SIM card users, two years before being embroiled in a dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria over the repatriation of funds. MTN settled the case with a $53m payment.
In January, Nigeria’s attorney-general withdrew a $2bn tax demand against MTN Nigeria, which had been accused of not having fully paid its taxes. ..