MTN Shares Gain Most in Five Years After Peaceful Nigerian Vote

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest wireless operator, increased the most in almost five years after former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari won a largely peaceful vote in Nigeria, the South African company’s biggest market.

The shares advanced as much as 6.6 percent, the most since May 2010, and traded 5.6 percent higher at 216.45 rand as of 1 p.m. in Johannesburg. That pared the year’s decline to 2.2 percent, valuing the company at 400 billion rand ($33 billion).

Nigerian stocks rose the most in five years and bonds rallied after Buhari defeated President Goodluck Jonathan, the first victory over an incumbent since independence from the U.K. in 1960. Nigeria’s all-share index jumped 8.3 percent to 34,388.03 in Lagos, the commercial capital, the biggest gain since March 2010 and the highest level since Jan. 5.

“Nigeria has gone through a democratic process which re-enforces the country’s outlook,” Bruce Main, a money manager at Ivy Asset Management in Johannesburg, said by phone. “There is confidence that there are not going to be any major legislative changes. That’s good news for a company like MTN, which gets a huge portion of earnings from Nigeria.”

MTN had 59.9 million subscribers in Nigeria at the end of 2014, compared with 223 million across all 22 markets. Sales in Africa’s most populous country gained 12 percent last year, compared with a 6.4 percent increase in total revenue.

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