MTN shares hammered

Shares in mobile network MTN  slid around 13% on Friday morning after the company forecast a 2015 earnings drop of at least 20%.

MTN, in a Thursday trading update, said it expected a decrease of at least 20% in basic headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year ended December 2015.

MTN blamed its weaker earnings forecast on Nigerian regulators forcing the mobile network to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards. The company added that it’s experienced the “withholding of regulatory services” in Nigeria.

The mobile network’s share price closed at R153.7 on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on Thursday, but on Friday morning at 09:08 the company was trading down over 15% at R129.

The share price then bounced back to R135.5 at 09:42.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market as the company has over 60 million subscribers in that country.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) last year fined MTN $3.9bn over the network’s failure to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards in a timely manner.

MTN, though, has challenged the fine in Nigeria’s courts. A Lagos judge, earlier this year, also adjourned the matter to March 18 to allow the two parties to try settle outside of court.

Fin24

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MTN shares hammered