MTN new executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko plans to resolve the company’s $5.2bn fine imposed by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) regulators within two weeks and reverse share price losses that followed reports of the penalty late last month.
“We are doing our best to try to arrive at an acceptable outcome,” Nhleko said in an interview on South Africa’s Radio 702, Monday, the day he re-took the helm of Africa’s largest wireless operator following the resignation of chief executive officer Sifiso Dabengwa.
Nhleko said he’s confident that the value the company has lost in the past 10 days will be reversed.
Nhleko, 55, agreed to take over at Johannesburg-based MTN four years after ending a nine-year spell as CEO during which the share price gained about 1 000%.
He vowed to personally lead negotiations with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which imposed the record fine for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered customers before a deadline.
The company’s shares have declined about 16% since the fine was reported on October 26.
MTN had been given until November 16 to pay the fine. The NCC last week agreed to extend the company’s license in its biggest market until 2021, pending payment of $94.2m, which is separate to the fine.