MTN warning on Iran funds knocks stock

JOHANNESBURG - Africa's largest mobile operator MTN fell sharply on the JSE yesterday after the company flagged that US President Donald Trump's reinstatement of sanctions against Iran could hamper its efforts to repatriate 200million (R2.98billion) in cash back to South Africa.

MTN fell more than 4percent in early trade before paring the losses after the group warned its shareholders that Trump's decision could threaten its years-long efforts to repatriate the money back from the Islamic state.

The group said the sanctions could limit the company's ability to claw back cash in both dividends and loans from MTN Irancell.

It said it would continue to monitor the situation in Iran.

“MTN Group remains committed to our investment in Irancell and to repatriating the balance of legacy cash in Iran while remaining compliant with appropriate legislation,” the group told shareholders.

MTN has thus far managed to repatriate approximately 88m from Irancell, where it holds a 49percent stake, including 61m relating to the full 2017 dividend due as well as a further 27m of historic dividends.But analysts said yesterday that decisions by China and key European countries not to follow Trump left the door open for MTN to bring the money back to

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