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Reuters/Mike Hutchings
MTN finally some good news to cheer
SETTLEMENT

MTN has settled an $8 billion illegal profit dispute in Nigeria for $53 million

By Yomi Kazeem

Four months after it became embroiled in its latest dispute with Nigerian authorities, MTN is in the clear.

Africa’s largest telecoms operator says it has paid $53 million to settle a dispute after Nigeria’s Central Bank accused it of illegally repatriating $8.1 billion in profits. MTN was also alleged to owe Nigeria up to $2 billion in taxes by the attorney general.

It’s the latest hurdle MTN has faced in Nigeria—its largest market and a key revenue driver—after almost two decades of operations. Amid the recent allegations, MTN’s share price slumped sharply and the company appeared to slow down on plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in Nigeria. This year’s illegal profit repatriation claim follows a $1.7 billion settlement—much less than the original $5.2 billion fine originally imposed—only two years ago after a protracted illegal SIM card dispute with Nigeria’s telecoms regulator.

But recent evidence suggests MTN believes the potential for profits in Nigeria is worth the frequent regulatory hassle: the company has announced plans to launch its mobile money service in Nigeria in the second quarter of next year.

Read next: MTN and the multibillion-dollar perils of Nigeria’s regulatory minefield

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