The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reduced the fine imposed on MTN for failure to disconnect unregistered SIM cards after an August 2015 deadline.
A new figure of $3.4 billion (N674bn) is more than a third of the original $5.2bn (N1.04tr).
Payment deadline of December 31, 2015 stays.
News of the reduction came shortly after the South Africa-based group announced the resignation its CEO in Nigeria, Michael Ikpoki.
“MTN has received a formal letter dated 2 December 2015 from the NCC informing the Company that, after considering the Company’s request, it has taken the decision to reduce the fine on the MTN Nigerian business from the original N1,040,000,000,000 (One Trillion, Forty Billion Naira) to N674 Billion Naira which has to be paid by 31 December 2015. The fine relates to the late disconnecting of 5.1 million MTN Nigeria subscribers in August and September 2015,” the company said in a statement to its shareholders.
It added: The Company is carefully considering the NCC’s reply, however the Executive Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko will immediately and urgently re-engage with the Nigerian Authorities before responding formally, as it is essential for the Company to follow due process to ensure the best outcome for the Company, its stakeholders and the Nigerian Authorities and accordingly all factors having a bearing on the situation will be thoroughly and carefully considered before the Company arrives at a final decision.
“Shareholders are therefore advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further announcement is made.”
The reduced fine still is more than the $2.6 billion in profits MTN says it made in Nigeria last year. Group shares rose slightly on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Thursday, but the company still has lost more than 20 percent of its value.