MTN Jumps After Nigeria Court Adjourns Case for Settlement Talks

MTN Group Ltd., which is challenging a $3.9 billion fine in Nigeria, rose the most in more than six years after its case was adjourned to allow the sides to reach a settlement out-of-court.

African’s biggest phone operator rose as much as 9.3 percent, the biggest gain since May 2009, before paring gains to 121.43 rand at 1:27 p.m. Friday in Johannesburg. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index rose 2.8 percent.

MTN said last month it would challenge the fine in the Federal High Court in Lagos, arguing that the penalty wasn’t within the powers of the country’s telecommunications regulator to impose. The fine, which was reduced from an earlier $5.2 billion, was levied on MTN for failing to meet a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers, as security agencies seek to fight crime and Islamist militants.

The judge adjourned the matter to March 18 to enable the parties to try and settle after the case came up for hearing on Friday morning, MTN said in a statement.

“If the parties are unable to reach a settlement the matter will then proceed on that date,” MTN said in the statement.

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