MTN Nigeria fine cut 35% to $3.4 billion as local CEO quits

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The Nigerian telecommunications regulator cut the fine imposed on MTN Group Ltd. to $3.4 billion from a record $5.2 billion and the chief executive officer in the country quit as part of a wider management shake-up at Africa biggest mobile-phone operator.

The shares gained 1.2 percent to 148.49 rand as of 9:32 a.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 274 billion rand ($19.1 billion).

The stock is still down about 22 percent since the penalty was made public on Oct. 26. The Nigerian Communications Commission decided to reduce the levy after considering a request from the company, Johannesburg-based MTN said in a statement on Thursday.

MTN named Ferdi Moolman, the former CEO of the company Iran unit and most recently the chief financial officer of MTN Nigeria, as head of the Lagos-based operations, replacing Michael Ikpoki, who resigned.

The Nigerian regulator imposed the fine on MTN for failing to meet a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers. Group Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko took an executive position in November and led negotiations with the NCC after CEO Sifiso Dabengwa quit.

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