MTN destroyed lots of its value: analyst

Sasfin Securities’ deputy chairman David Shapiro said that while MTN lost half of its value because of bad corporate governance, many of the people responsible have become rich from the company.

This comes after the national anti-corruption commission in Cameroon found that MTN owes around 52 billion CFA francs (R1.46 billion) in taxes and royalties.

MTN denied the allegations, stating that it operates a clean business in Cameroon and it is “up to date with all its fiscal obligations in the country”.

The tax claims come at a time when MTN faces a ₦780-billion fine in Nigeria for not abiding by the country’s SIM registration regulations.

These issues have seen the MTN share price plummet from R246.02 on 28 April 2015 to R117.70 on 20 January 2016.

This destroyed value for many shareholders, including previously-disadvantaged people who participated in the MTN Zakhele BEE scheme.

The Week That Was co-host Simon Brown highlighted that there has been a lot of smoke since MTN’s legal battle with Turkish operator Turkcell, and that we are now starting to see some fires.

Shapiro said the ongoing problems at MTN raises questions about the state of corporate governance at the company.

“A lot of top people at MTN have made a lot of money by not keeping their eye on the ball, and not watching what was happening in the company,” said Shapiro.

“For those poor people who were suckered into the MTN Zakhele empowerment deal, their value is absolutely destroyed while some executives [enjoy their] yachts and fancy cars.”

He said the troubles at MTN have been ongoing. “I do not think that this just happened overnight – it raises a lot of questions.”

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MTN destroyed lots of its value: analyst