N541bn Debt: Banks Reject Etisalat Nigeria's Loan Restructuring Plan

Ivan Schwartz
June 20, 2017

According to Premium Times, EMTS Holding BV, a company based in Holland, was given a June 23 deadline to finalise a transfer of 100 percent of the company's shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium.

Access Bank alongside a consortium of banks has now taken over the management of telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria.

The firm's parent company, Etisalat Group, announced the takeover on Tuesday in a filing, with reference number Ho/GCFO/152/85, and dated June 20, 2017, to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

"Subsequently, discussions between EMTS and the EMTS Lenders did not produce an agreement on a debt restructuring plan".

It added it was carrying the stake at nil value.

In Nigeria, the company's Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Ibrahim Dikko, said in a statement: "Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited also known as Etisalat Nigeria has announced the commencement of its restructuring with changes to its shareholding".

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The banks were said to have opposed a proposal by Etisalat to convert part of a $1.2 billion loan from dollars to naira.

Etisalat said its financial exposure to Etisalat Nigeria was related to operational services worth 191 million UAE dirhams ($52 million) and that discussions were ongoing with lenders regarding the use of the Etisalat brand. "As noted in an earlier statement, we are considering a number of options and are not taking anything off the table at this time".

Abu Dhabi state-investment fund Mubadala, the second-biggest shareholder in Etisalat Nigeria, declined to comment.

Dikko said services to its subscribers will not be affected by the changes in shareholding. We will continue to tap into the rich, creative and innovative resources within our workforce to build a stronger business upon the stable foundation we have laid in our nine years of operations.

Prior to the take over of the company by the bank, talks initiated by the regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not yield any result as the foreign and local investors failed to agree on the best way to attract fresh investment for the company. "We appreciate the tremendous support we have received since inception and count on the continued support owf our media partners as we navigate this path and emerge as a stronger business". "We will update our stakeholders and the public on further developments shortly", he said.

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