Reprieve could be in the books for EtisalatNigeria as the company struggles to repay a loan facility and stands the risk of being taken over by a consortium of 13 banks.
Initially, after some banks had tried to take over the telco, Etisalat’s United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based parent company had leaned towards throwing the company under the bus.
However, new information reaching Pulse Tech points in a different direction. Etisalat Abu Dhabi is now making a U-turn on its earlier decision and is showing a stronger conviction to inject funds and recapitalise it’s embattled Nigerian child.
The new decision is a result of a meeting between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who has been playing the role of mediator since news of the attempted take-over broke, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), 13 local banks and the largest shareholders from Etisalat’s mother company, Sun News Online reports.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, at an interactive media session in Lagos yesterday, said discussion at the meeting centred around how Etisalat will refinance its $1.2 billion debt so its can start servicing it as soon as possible.
“Etisalat has about $2billion of its estimated $20billion global net worth in Nigeria against which the Abu Dhabi-based parent company affirmed it would not abandon Africa’s largest market because of obligations owed local banks,” said Danbatta, according to Sun News Online.
Back in 2013, Etisalat had secured a $1.2 billion medium-term loan from a consortium of 13 banks which it used to refinance an existing $650 million loan and fund a modernisation of its network infrastructure.
However, news broke on March 8, 2017, that the consortium of banks had tried to take over the telecom operator after it failed to service the loan facility. Since then, the NCC and CBN has been actively involved in talks between all parties involved to ensure a less-than-hostile resolution.
Etisalat is one of the major telecom networks in Nigeria and there is no telling what a take-over or shutdown of the company could mean for the tech and telecom industry. But it will definitely not be good.