MTN’s share price fell by more than 20% at one stage in trading on the JSE on Friday after warning on Thursday after markets closed that its headline earnings per share (Heps) would fall by more than 20% for the full year to December 2015.
The share traded as low as R122,78 before regaining a little composure at the close. It ended the day down by 18% at R126/share.
Thursday’s profit warning has capped three months of disappointing news from MTN for investors.
The bad news flow began with the revelation that the Nigerian Communications Commission had imposed a record-breaking US$5,2bn fine on its Nigerian subsidiary for failing to disconnect more than 5m unregistered Sim cards.
That fine has since been reduced to (a still eye-watering) $3,9bn, with the company now in talks with the Nigerian authorities in an effort to resolve the matter out of court before a court-imposed deadline of 18 March.
MTN said on Thursday that basic Heps for the year ended 31 December 2015 would fall by at least 20%. It blamed operational challenges in Nigeria, as well as other, unspecified issues, for the sharp decline.
FNB Securities said in a note to clients on Friday that the consensus analyst view had been for a decline of 13,2% in Heps.
MTN will publish its annual results in two weeks’ time, on 3 March.
It said its poor earnings performance was the result, in part, of “operational underperformance in Nigeria, resulting from the subscriber disconnections and the withholding of regulatory services being a key contributor to this”.
MTN said it would issue a further trading statement soon to provide investors with a likely range for full-year Heps. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media