Latest Development: MTN ‘Wants’ NCC Fine Reduced To N208bn

MTN Group is attempting a review of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) N1.04tr fine against it to N208bn while it works the Nigerian banking sector for loans to offset the it.

Adesoji Solanke, head of research, Renaissance Capital (RenCap) in Nigeria, revealed this in his note to clients on Wednesday.

“MTN is pushing to reduce the fine by 60 percent to 80 percent,” Bloomberg quoted Solanke to have said. According to Bloomberg, a second lender said that “MTN is considering borrowing from banks, as it recently checked what the banks’ lending capacity to it is”.

MTN has 12 more days to its November 16 deadline for paying up the biggest fine in the history of telecommunications in Nigeria. The Johannesburg-based company’s shares lost almost a quarter of their value following the disclosure of the fine, before recovering nine percent over the past two sessions.

The fine stemmed from MTN Nigeria’s failure to disconnect 5.1 million subscribers who had not registered according to NCC regulations.

With a charge of N200,000 ($1,005) for each unregistered customer, industry analyst consider the fine as excessive and strange for Nigeria’s business clime.

When MTN’s spokesman was contacted by Bloomberg over the said bank lending, he said, “we don’t comment on banking matters and banking regulators in Nigeria are best placed to provide context on these matters.”

MTN shares gained as much as 4.1 percent and traded 3.5 percent higher at 160.89 rand as of 2:28 p.m. in Johannesburg. The stock is down 27 percent this year, valuing the company at 297 billion rand ($21.5 billion).

TheCable/Bloomberg

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