Nigerian authorities announced the extension of the Nov. 16 deadline for mobile giant MTN to pay a $5.2 billion fine, MTN said in a statement yesterday. The fine was imposed for the company's failure to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered subscribers on its network. "Shareholders are advised that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded," the statement said.
Nigeria's Communications Commission (NCC) announced the fine on Oct. 26, stating that unregistered SIM card use was linked to terrorism and kidnappings in Africa's most populous nation. MTN is committed to resolving the matter with the NCC as soon as possible and will continue to update stakeholders of progress made in these negotiations, the statement said.
South Africa-based MTN, which operates in 22 African countries, as well as in Asia and in the Middle East, saw its CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa, resign last week - Dabengwa cited the fine as the reason for his resignation. The company's share price on the Johannesburg stock exchange has been under pressure since the announcement of the fine. "Shareholders are advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company's securities until a further announcement is made," MTN said in its statement.