MTN profits down 37 percent in 2015, blames Nigeria fine

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — African telecommunications giant MTN says profits fell 37 percent in 2015 largely because of a hefty fine imposed by Nigerian regulators.

The South African-based multinational's report posted online Friday says it cut off 4.5 million Nigerian subscribers last month. That is in addition to 6.7 million Nigerian and 3.7 million Ugandan subscribers disconnected last year under new regulations requiring the registration of cellphone SIM cards.

MTN Group Ltd. says it has set aside nearly $600 million against the $3.9 billion Nigerian fine for failing to deactivate unregistered cards, which is under negotiation.

Overall, the company earned 23.57 billion rand ($1.54 billion) on revenue of 147.06 billion rand.

Nigeria is MTN's biggest market with about 60 million subscribers before the disconnections. MTN now reports 232.5 million subscribers in 22 countries.