JSE suspends trading in MTN shares

Johannesburg - An MTN spokesperson has confirmed to Fin24 that the mobile network’s shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) have been suspended on Monday morning.

Chris Maroleng, the executive for group corporate affairs at MTN Group, told Fin24 by phone that trading in the company’s shares had been suspended.

“We take note of the JSE’s decision to suspend MTN’s shares,” he said.

The JSE, in its own announcement, confirmed the suspension of MTN shares at midday on Monday.

"The JSE has halted trading in MTN Group Limited shares pending an announcement from the company," said the stock exchange.

MTN’s share price has been under pressure in the last week after it confirmed last week that it’s been fined $5.2bn by Nigerian regulators for allegedly not disconnecting up to five million unregistered SIM cards.

The halt in trading also came after MTN's share price fell by around 8% in trade on Monday amid an unconfirmed report by Lagos-based Vanguard on Monday morning said that MTN had agreed to pay the $5.2bn to Nigerian regulators in staggered payments.

Meanwhile, the JSE on Friday also announced its own investigation into MTN.

The stock exchange said that it's looking into how MTN made its SENS announcement last week Monday regarding the Nigerian fine. The JSE also said it's looking into trades before the SENS announcement to determine if there was possible insider trading.

Some analysts criticised MTN for not making its SENS announcement soon enough. News of the fine started appearing in Nigerian media early on the morning of October 26 but MTN only made its SENS announcement on the afternoon of that day at 14:24.

This is a developing story.

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