MTN will not have to pay a US$5,2bn fine to Nigerian authorities today, 16 November, which was previously the deadline set down by the Nigerian Communications Commission for payment of the record-setting penalty. The fine was imposed after the telecommunications operator allegedly failed to disconnect as many as 5,1m unregistered Sim cards in time for an 11 August deadline.
No money will have to be paid over until after MTN and Nigerian authorities have concluded negotiations over the fine, which, according to reports, is the largest ever imposed on a telecoms company by a regulatory agency anywhere in the world.
In an update to shareholders on Monday morning, MTN said its executive chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, who took the reins last week from CEO Sifiso Dabengwa, who tendered his resignation, has met personally with the Nigerian authorities “to continue the ongoing discussions with them regarding the fine”.
“These discussions include matters of non-compliance and the remedial measures that may have to be adopted to address this,” MTN said in the statement
“Although the Nigerian Communications Commission set a deadline for payment of the fine by Monday, 16 November 2015, shareholders are advised that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded.”
MTN’s share closed at R145 on Friday, down by 1,4% on the session. It has plunged by 22% in the past 30 days as investors fret over the impact the fine could have on the group’s financial performance and its ability to maintain its dividend. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media