South African telecoms firm MTN Group and Nigeria’s central bank are in talks to settle an $8.1 billion dispute. File Photo: IOL

INTERNATIONAL – South Africa’s MTN has paid $53 million (R738m) to settle a money transfer dispute with Nigeria’s central bank and the matter has been withdrawn from court, Governor Godwin Emefiele said on Tuesday.

The company’s row with the Nigerian Central Bank over historic dividend repatriations ended last month, after dragging the share price to its lowest level since 2006.

It has shed 35 percent since last year but gained marginally by 0.09 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R85.54 a share yesterday, valuing the company at R161 billion.

The central bank had ordered MTN and its lenders to bring back a total of $8.1 billion it alleged the company had illegally repatriated using improperly issued paperwork between 2007 and 2008.

Emefiele said the money paid by MTN was a notional sum and that the company has been absolved from any wrongdoing, he said duing a monetary policy meeting at which the bank left interest rates on hold at 14 percent.