MTN Nigeria shares hit 3-month high after partial reopening

FILE PHOTO: A client stands by an MTN service bus in Lagos, Nigeria August 28, 2019. Picture taken August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja/File Photo

ABUJA (Reuters) - Shares of MTN Nigeria MTNN.LG hit a three-month high on Friday after the telecoms company's offices partially reopened following a shutdown due to anti-South African attacks in the West African country.

The local units of South Africa's MTN Group MTNJ.J and supermarket chain Shoprite SHPJ.J, closed all stores and service centres in Nigeria after their premises were attacked following days of riots in their home country chiefly targeting foreign-owned, including Nigerian, businesses.

The violence in South Africa has strained relations between Africa’s two biggest economies, with Nigeria saying on Thursday it would recall its top diplomat to Pretoria.

MTN Nigeria said its stores remained closed on Friday but skeletal office operations were resuming, its spokesman said, adding that staff were asked to stay at home for safety reasons.

Shoprite stores remained shut except for one in an upmarket area of the capital Abuja, a manager there said.

Shares in MTN, Nigeria’s second-biggest listed firm, rose 5.03% to 139.80 naira each, a level last seen in June. Johannesburg-listed Shoprite shares were up 1.8%.

Prior to the shutdown, the telecoms firm last week launched a mobile money transfer service, targeting Nigerians without bank accounts, and said it planned to become a payment services bank once it obtains approval from the central bank.

Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise