MTN boss upbeat about the company

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

MTN's best kept secret is out - don't sell your shares.

At least chief executive Phuthuma Nhleko is reluctant to get rid of his.

Nhleko had the option of selling two million shares in the company he shepherds, but only sold 877608, at a value of more than R90million.

Had he exercised the full option, he would have cashed in more than R200million.

As of March 2008, Nhleko had 1,03percent direct shareholding in MTN that amounted to R2,3billion, and then in November he bought one million shares and another million last Monday.

Rajay Ambekar, portfolio manager at Cadiz Asset Management, said this was a sign of good faith in the company.

Ambekar said: "Apart from the options, he made net purchases of R200million during the year. He bought R100million worth of shares in November at R73 per share.

"In December, he bought another R100million. The selling was in relation to his option. He sold less than half when he could have sold the entire lot. He will be receiving around R300million when the Newshelf (BEE) entity is wound down, so he'll be getting a lot of cash coming in this year."

Ambekar said this was all an indication that Nhleko, who is expected to step down when his contract expires next year, is very bullish about the company's prospects.