MTN gets November deadline to pay N1.4trn fine

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As the controversy over the N1.4 trillion fine on MTN lingers, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given MTN Nigeria a deadline of 16 November to pay the fine imposed on it for failing to register the personal details of 5.1 million subscribers.

This deadline is coming after the  South Africa’s stock exchange, JSE Ltd, launched an investigation into the timing of the operator’s announcement of its penalty.

According to a report, the spokesman for the Nigerian Communications Commission, the country’s telecoms watchdog, was quoted as saying that the outcome of the discussion may affect the date.

A statement by MTN said its CEO is still in talks with the Nigerian authorities and its senior management and advisers also talking to JSE, after the announcement of the fine knocked around 20 percent off the company’s stock price.

‘‘That’s why they are having the discussion so that they can reach a solution,” the spokesperson said.

The report also said Nigeria’s presidency and internal security agency are involved in the talks.

As for the JSE probe, the head of the regulatory division, Andre Visser, said “the investigation will follow due process to establish whether there have been any breaches of the listings requirements and can be a lengthy process.”

Under South African capital markets rules, companies are required to immediately warn shareholders of price-sensitive information.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings has revised MTN Group’s outlook to negative, owing “to the risk of a significant cash outflow due to a substantial fine imposed on MTN’s Nigerian operations, which could increase leverage and pressure MTN’s credit metrics.”

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