MTN Group says it is expecting an increased profit by as much as 90 per cent in 2018, as the company continues to recover from a regulatory fine in Nigeria.
Analysts had predicted that the $8.1bn repatriation demand dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria would affect the fourth quarter earnings of the Nigerian unit.
The telecoms company headquartered in South Africa has been at the receiving end of regulatory sanction and fines in African countries where it operates.
According to Reuters, MTN, which is due to report 2018 results on March 7, said on Thursday last week, that headline earnings per share, the primary measure of profit in South Africa, would likely come in a range of 328 cents to 346 cents for the year ended December. That compares with 182 cents a year earlier.
Even the upper end of the forecast is not even half what the company reported in 2015, a year before it agreed to pay a $1.7bn fine over three years for missing a deadline to cut off unregistered SIM card users in Nigeria.
The oil-rich West African country accounts for nearly a third of MTN’s core profit, but it has become increasingly problematic.
In December, Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator by the number of subscribers agreed to pay $53m to resolve a dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria, which had accused MTN of repatriating $8.1bn using improperly issued Certificates of Capital Importation.
The company still has an ongoing legal dispute in court with the Nigerian Attorney General over $2bn in back taxes.