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MTN group MTN shares plunges over profit warning

The company on Thursday said its profit for 2015 fell by 20% due to poor performance in Nigeria.

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Shares of African's cellphone giant, MTN group, plunged by 19% on Friday morning after a profit warning on Thursday.

The company on Thursday said its profit for 2015 fell by 20% due to poor performance in Nigeria.

Nigeria accounts for about 38% of MTN's revenue.

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) imposed a fine of $5.2 billion on MTN last year for missing a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, citing security concerns.

However, the fine was reduced by 25% following weeks of lobbying.

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But MTN said the profit warning did not include the penalty.

“There remains some uncertainty as to the final amount of the Nigerian fine, should an out of court settlement be reached,” the company said

MTN is currently in talks with the NCC to lift the fine.

“MTN was here last week to discuss these sanctions and how they could be bridged,” NCC spokesman Tony Ojobo said. “MTN has agreed to comply and we have some people in the field now to make sure that MTN is indeed doing what they promised. We will accordingly lift the sanctions if the company is compliant.”

A court in Lagos gave the two parties until March 18 to reach a deal after MTN went to court to have the fine quashed.

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