MTN on Thursday advised shareholders not to make decisions based on press reports after the telecommunications group’s shares were knocked down by more than 10% on speculation that its fine in Nigeria could be hiked to R240bn.
The shares were also knocked lower after going “ex dividend”. MTN paid an R8,30/share dividend on Thursday. However, the share price was last seen trading down by more than R14/share.
Nigeria’s ThisDay newspaper and other media outlets reported that lawmakers said that MTN Nigeria should have been fined 3,12 trillion naira (about R243bn), instead of the 1,04 trillion naira originally imposed (and later reduced to 780 billion naira).
The Nigerian house of representatives has taken issue with what it calls an unconstitutional review of the fine imposed on MTN by the Nigerian Communications Commission for failing to cut off more than 5m unregistered Sim cards.
The lawmaking body warned that reducing the fine to the 780bn proposed would require an amendment to regulations, which stipulate that a fine of 200 000 naira must be imposed for each unregistered Sim card not disconnected.
On Thursday, MTN told shareholders that it had “noted” reports in the Nigerian Media.
“MTN has previously advised shareholders not to make decisions based on press reports and MTN again urges its shareholders to refrain from doing so,” it said.
“MTN continues to engage with Nigerian authorities in an attempt to ensure an amicable resolution to this matter in the interests of MTN Nigeria, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities,” it added.
“To this end, we shall await clarity and further guidance on the fine from the federal government of Nigeria.”
At 4.41pm on Thursday, MTN was trading at R128/share, down by 9,8% on the day’s session. Earlier in the day it had touched a low of R125,29/share. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media