MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator, said on Monday afternoon that Nigerian talks are still ongoing and requested investors to exercise caution. By Gugu Lourie
MTN has resumed trading on the JSE.
Africa’s largest mobile phone operator said that “engagements with the Nigerian authorities are continuing and any material developments in these engagements will be communicated to shareholders through SENS.”
Earlier today, the JSE halted trading in MTN Group Limited shares pending an announcement from the company.
The operator, which is the biggest in Nigeria, said after midday that “shareholders should specifically exercise caution when reacting to information on this matter which has not been released by the company”.
“Shareholders are therefore advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further announcement is made,” MTN informed investors.
There has been a lot of speculation emerging from Nigerian press.
While pleading for staggered payment model, Nigerian Vanguard said that MTN has finally bowed to pressure as it has accepted to pay the 1.04 trillion naira (R71 billion) fine slammed on it last week by the telecoms regulatory authority, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“There have been series of meeting at the Presidency between the Vice President Osinbajo and MTN team both from South Africa and the Nigerian arm. MTN wanted a waiver considering their level of investments in the country, but government did not buy the idea of waiver. Instead, I think there will be concession, but certainly not a waiver. At the conclusion of the meeting, the MTN people negotiated on how to stagger the payment. The Presidency is even angry because MTN was a signatory to the regulation, but they are failing to comply with rules.”, the Vanguard claims that a source told them
MTN told shareholders last week Monday that “the NCC has imposed a fine equivalent to $5.2bn on MTN Nigeria”.
“This fine relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million MTN Nigeria subscribers who were disconnected in August and September 2015 and is based on a fine of N200 000 for each unregistered subscriber,” said the company.
Last month, MTN Nigeria recorded a marginal decline in its subscriber base to 62,5 million subscribers, due to the disconnection of 5,1 million subscribers at the end of August 2015 in line with industry-wide regulatory registration requirements. To date, 3,4 million of these subscribers have been reconnected.