MTN Nears Nigeria Deal Over $8.1 Billion Claim

(Bloomberg) -- MTN Group Ltd. is close to securing a deal with Nigeria’s central bank over an order to repay $8.1 billion it is alleged to have illegally taken out of the country, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A settlement is expected by Monday and could come as early as Friday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to comment publicly. The Central Bank of Nigeria will on Friday meet the four banks accused of facilitating the transfers -- Standard Chartered Plc, Citigroup Inc., Stanbic IBTC Plc and Diamond Bank Plc -- and that Lagos meeting could end the saga, the person said.

The shares rose 2.2 percent to 88.83 rand in early trade in Johannesburg on Friday, valuing Africa’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers at 167 billion rand ($11.8 billion). The stock has declined 17 percent since since Nigerian authorities said in late August that MTN needed to repay the cash. The four banks were fined a combined $16 million.

MTN, Citibank, Standard Chartered and Stanbic IBTC declined to comment. A spokesman for Nigeria’s central bank and representatives from Diamond Bank didn’t answer calls seeking confirmation after regular business hours.