MTN fine reduction figure a typo

There was surely some relief for South Africa’s MTN Group when it was notified by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that its outstanding fine (issued by the NCC in October) had been reduced by 35%, down to $3.4 billion. But this relief was surely short-lived, as the NCC's spokesman, Tony Ojobo, admitted the commission had made an error, or a "typo", as he put it, as the reduction was, in fact, only 25%, down to $3.9 billion.

MTN has two weeks, starting from 3 December, to respond to the NCC's penalty reduction. The Nigerian commission has given the telecoms company until the end of the year to pay the fine. According to Ojobo, no decision has yet been made regarding whether MTN will be permitted to pay in instalments.

The telecomes giant is taking strain in the wake of the regulator fine fiasco, and its shares have plunged more than a quarter since the fine was first announced on 26 October. MTN generates some 37% of its revenue from Nigeria. A reduced fine of $3.9 billion still equates to more than twice the company's annual average capital spend over the past five years.

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