Shares of Nigeria’s second biggest listed company MTN Nigeria MTNN.LG rose 9.34% to an all time high on Monday after the telecoms firm received approval to operate its mobile money service in Africa’s most populous country.
South African parent MTN MTNJ.J said on Friday it had been granted the in-principle approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Mobile operators like MTN have been pushing further into financial services on the continent, where a large part of the population does not have good access to traditional banking services.
MTN has said it is looking to become one of the continent’s biggest financial technology firms – an ambition that would be difficult to fulfil without Nigeria, home to some 200 million people.
Its MoMo service currently has 51 million active users. It said in 2019 it wanted its user base to hit 60 million. The company’s fast-rising fintech revenues now contribute almost 9% of its -total income.
Last week MTN said it planned to sell shares in its Nigerian unit after it listed the local arm in Lagos two years ago to become the second-largest stock by market capitalisation.
Shares of MTN Nigeria, which hit 192.50 naira on Monday, have more than doubled in value since falling to the listing price of 90 naira in March 2020, hammered by lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The gains in MTN Nigeria helped propel the local share index .NGSEINDEX 1.54% higher.