Shareholders looking for a detailed update on Monday about MTN’s negotiations with Nigerian authorities over the US$5,2bn (R72bn) fine levied on the telecommunications group by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have had their hopes dashed.
Hours after the JSE halted trade in MTN shares, which had gone on a rollercoaster ride on Monday morning following publication of a report in the Nigerian media that suggested it had agreed to pay the fine in full, the group said only that talks were continuing.
It said “engagements” with the Nigerian authorities were ongoing and “any material developments will be communicated to shareholders through Sens”.
MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa flew into Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, last week to lead the discussions.
The NCC levied the fine against MTN after it allegedly failed to terminate 5,1m Sim cards that it had not registered in terms of tough new regulations meant to help fight crime and terrorism.
In apparent reference to the news report published by Nigeria’s Vanguard website on Monday morning, MTN said: “Shareholders should specifically exercise caution when reacting to information on this matter [that]has not been released by the company.”
An MTN source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the Vanguard report is inaccurate, but declined to provide further information.
MTN’s shares lost as much as 10% of their value on Monday morning. When trading was halted, the shares were down by 5,3%. The JSE allowed the resumption of trading at about 2pm. – © 2015 NewsCentral Media