South Africa’s MTN Group has denied striking an agreement with authorities in Nigeria over a $5.2 billion fine for unregistered SIM cards, responding to speculation on Tuesday of a deal which fired a late surge in MTN shares.
MTN is in talks with Nigerian authorities about the fine, imposed on its unit in the west African country for failing to cut off more than 5 million users with unregistered SIM cards. MTN makes about 37% of its revenue from Nigeria and the country is its largest market with over 62.4 million subscribers. It’s 42% share of the Nigerian market is the highest of the four GSM networks in Nigeria.
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MTN wishes to clarify and place on record that the company continues to engage constructively with Nigerian authorities at all levels.
However, the company has noted, with concern, the speculation and false information in the media. MTN particularly cautions against reports purporting that the company has agreed a resolution with the NCC on the fine. It is false as no resolution has yet been reached. MTN continues to engage the authorities in Nigeria on this matter.
To this end, all stakeholders are reminded that MTN will inform them of any material developments in our engagements with Nigerian authorities via the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE Limited (SENS). Shareholders have also been asked to exercise caution when reacting to information that has not been released by the company.
It is also important to note that MTN has operated in Nigeria for over a decade. In this time, and as in the other markets where we have a presence, MTN has conducted its business in accordance with established principles related to sound corporate governance.
As a company which owes its founding and growth to the emerging world, we are conscious of our responsibility to invest in the growth of local economies and development of communities wherever we operate. Nigeria is no different. Since launching more than a decade ago, we have made significant investments in connecting customers to our network. We take these responsibilities and obligations very seriously.
In conducting our business, MTN is always mindful that our growth has not only been due to the success of our commercial propositions. We therefore remain committed to maintaining solid partnerships with regulators, governments, communities and our markets, including in Nigeria, to build a sustainable industry that contributes to the growth of local economies.
Shareholders are therefore advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further announcement is made.