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Exposure to Nigeria could force S&P’s hand on MTN


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

Mudiwa Gavaza

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.  ..

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