MTN Nigeria has set aside N120 billion (R9.287 billion) for the settlement of a N780 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The group, in its 2015 fiscal year final results, saw its profit per share lose 51 percent, while its revenue marginally increased by 0.1 percent.
“MTN Nigeria recorded a R9,287 million (N120 billion) provision for the fine at the end of the reporting period, negatively impacting reported EBITDA by 13,6% and HEPS by 402 cents,” MTN said.
“Management has applied its judgement in determining the provision in accordance with IFRS. MTN Nigeria continues engaging with the Nigerian authorities in an attempt to ensure an amicable resolution in the interest of MTN Nigeria, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities.
“The fine imposed on MTN Nigeria and the related process continues to receive extensive attention from the Group Board of Directors (the board) and management and the Group will continue to update shareholders on any material developments.”
The company also lamented Nigeria’s economic situation, adding that the NCC fine has halted it new tariff plans and promotion.
“In the near term, we anticipate the resolution of the ongoing suspension of regulatory services which continues to restrict new tariff plans and promotions for MTN Nigeria,” it said.
“Following the resumption of regulatory services we would anticipate an improved operational performance in 2016.
“The current economic challenges in Nigeria have resulted in increased pressure on US dollar liquidity and we expect this situation to remain a challenge in the short to medium term.”
On 26 October 2015, MTN announced that the NCC had imposed a N1,040 trillion fine which was subsequently reduced to N780 billion (equivalent to approximately US$3.9 billion using the exchange rate prevailing at the time) on MTN Nigeria.
On December 17, 2015, MTN Nigeria proceeded with legal action in the federal high court in Lagos challenging the fine, only to settle out of court by January 22, 2016.
In February, the company made “a without prejudice good faith payment of N50 billion (equivalent to approximately US$250 million) to the federal government of Nigeria”.
“In an effort to achieve an amicable settlement, MTN Nigeria, without prejudice, agreed to withdraw the matter from the Federal High Court.”
Meanwhile, MTN has clarified the statement on the money set aside for the fine.
It said in a statement: “The Management of MTN Nigeria has clarified that the R9287 million set aside in the recently released MTN Group Financial results is in accordance with the Principle of Prudence in generally accepted accounting standards.
“This requires that reasonable provisions be made for contingent liabilities. Discussions with the Nigerian authorities are still ongoing and stakeholders will be advised accordingly when a settlement is reached.”
Amina Oyagbola, MTN client service executive, said: “MTN’s auditors have required that the company make a provision in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).”