S.Africa's Shanduka takes $335 mln stake in MTN Nigeria

JOHANNESBURG Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:01pm EST

JOHANNESBURG Nov 28 (Reuters) - Shanduka Group, the investment firm run by South African politician and millionaire Cyril Ramaphosa, has paid $335 million for a stake in MTN's Nigerian business, its biggest investment outside its home market.

Shanduka, which is 25 percent owned by China's sovereign wealth fund, said in a statement it had acquired a minority stake in MTN Nigeria from three private investors.

It did not give further details about the deal.

MTN Nigeria is the largest subsidiary of MTN Group, Africa's largest mobile operator. It had 45 million subscribers at the end of September, and contributed nearly 30 percent of MTN's first-half revenue.

MTN holds a 78.8 percent stake in the Nigeria unit, meaning Shanduka's stake could be up to 21.2 percent.

Ramaphosa is a leading member of the ruling African National Congress and the founder and chairman of Shanduka. He is also chairman of Johannesburg-based MTN.

A former trade union activist, his net worth was estimated at $275 million by Forbes magazine in 2011, making him the 36th richest person in Africa.

He is also widely seen as an eventual presidential candidate in South Africa.

Shanduka has investments in varied sectors from mining, energy, real estate and financial services. It also operates the local franchise of fast food chain McDonald's Corp.

The China Investment Corporation paid 2 billion rand ($226 million) for a quarter of Shanduka last year, valuing the company at just shy of $1 billion. ($1 = 8.8511 South African rand) (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)