MTN Group has offered $1.5 billion to settle the $3.9 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian telecommunications commission (NCC) for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered SIM card users, a document seen by Reuters shows.
The company has been negotiating with the Government over a possible reduction of the fine and made a part payment of $251 million last week also setting aside $600 million for further payment of the fine.
In a letter to the Nigerian government from MTN’s lawyer, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the company proposed a 300 billion naira ($1.5 billion) settlement to be paid through a combination of government bond purchases, cash instalments and network access to the Nigerian government.
Holder said in the letter, dated Feb. 24, the offer “ultimately is in the best interest of the FGN (Federal Government of Nigeria) and MTN Nigeria.”
MTN had earlier announced to shareholders today that it is aware of press reports regarding fine and advised shareholders not to make decisions based on press reports urging them to refrain from doing so.
Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, and the South African telecoms giant makes about 37 percent of its sales in the country.
MTN Group released its 2015 financial results which showed the company’s profits dropped by 50%. The company revealed in its report that the challenging operating environment, weak macro-economic conditions, increased market competition, heightened regulatory pressures, notably in Nigeria, and operational challenges in some of its markets resulted in a lower-than-expected performance.
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