MTN posts first yearly loss in two decades

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Lost $200m In 2016, Adds 7.7m New Subscribers
Telecommunications firm, MTN has recorded its first yearly loss in 20 years.According to the financial statement released to shareholders in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday, MTN said it made a $200 million loss in 2016, which is the company’s first, after suffering a huge fine in Nigeria and currency challenges in key markets.

The firm, which has over 240 million customers, controls about 40 per cent market share in Nigeria and services about 60 million subscribers. Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market. Johannesburg-based MTN reported profits of 20.2 billion rand ($1.6 billion) before tax for 2015.

The Nigerian authority fined the telecommunications firm in October of 2015 for contravening regulatory order on registration of SIM cards. MTN agreed to pay a fine of N330 billion ($1.1 billion), reduced from $5.2 billion, in June last year after a prolonged legal battle to end a dispute in Nigeria over missing a deadline to cut off unregistered SIM cards.

MTN woes in Africa’s most populous nation and biggest economy still persist, with the company facing an investigation by Nigerian lawmakers for allegedly illegally repatriating $14 billion between 2006 and 2016.

MTN has denied any wrongdoing. The firm however, said its total subscribers increased by 3.3 per cent or 7.7 million to 240 million in the year to end-December.

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