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Nigeria’s $1.05 Billion Fine puts a Negative on the MTN Group’s 2016 Financial Report

by Milicent Atieno
Nigeria’s $1.05 Billion Fine on MTN puts a Negative on the Telecoms 2016 Financial Report

South Africa’s MTN Group is prepping up to report a negative financial report for the year 2016. That is mainly due to the hefty fine slapped on MTN Nigeria by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for failing to delist unregistered SIM cards on their network.

The NCC fine on MTN Nigeria initially stood at $5.2 billion, leading to reaction shaving off 474 cents from MTN’s earnings per share. The fine prompted an inter-governmental lobbying between Nigeria and South Africa governments resulting in the reduction of that fine, and agreement on a stretched out payment schedule in installments.

The fine was reduced to $1.05 billion (N330 billion) in June 2016. MTN has so far paid N80 billion to the federal government of Nigeria, and the remaining N250 billion will be paid out in six tranches not going for later than May 31, 2019.

As per the agreement reached, MTN will pay N30 billion by March 31, 2017. Come March 31, 2018, it will pay out another N55 billion, on Dec 31, 2018, pay N55 billion, March 31, 2019, pay N55 billion and the remaining N55 billion to be paid on May 31, 2019.

Nigeria is such a lucrative market for MTN Group

Despite the hefty fine imposed on MTN Group by the Federal Government, Nigeria remains the most lucrative market for the telecom. Despite the fact, it is also the most problematic for the telecom. The country is the most populous nation in Africa and with the biggest economy. A third of MTN Group’s revenue comes from Nigeria.

Although the company is expected to make headline losses as per the financial report of the year 2016, the appointment of banker Rob Shuter is expected to give the company operational strength. Shuter is also expected to boost the telecom’s speed to returning profit-making path.

According to some eight analysts polled by Reuters, MTN is expected to post a 30% drop in earnings per share to 455 cents.

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