Etisalat N542 billion debt: NCC Approve Take Over By Three Nigerian banks  

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etisalat

“Etisalat Group is one of the world’s leading telecom groups in emerging markets. Etisalat’s current market cap is over 132 billion AED (36 billion USD). With reported net revenues of AED 51.7 billion and net profit of AED 8.3 billion for 2015, Etisalat ranks amongst the most profitable telecom groups in the world. Its high credit ratings at AA-/A+/Aa3 reflect the company’s strong balance sheet and proven long-term performance.

“Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Etisalat was established four decades ago in the UAE as the country’s first telecommunications service provider. An international blue-chip organisation, Etisalat Group provides innovative solutions and services to 163 million subscribers in 17 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

“Etisalat Group’s mission is to provide a best-in-class total customer experience domestically and internationally, deliver attractive returns to shareholders while investing in the long-term future of the company, and supporting economic development in all the markets we operate in.

Aspiring to be the most admired telecom group in emerging markets, Etisalat strives to consistently foster innovation and deliver first-in-market technologies wherever it operates. This is evidenced by its expeditionary trials of 5G services in the UAE – the first-ever in the region – including coordinating the development, design and deployment of future ICT platforms for fifth generation mobile broadband. Abu Dhabi is the first capital in the world to be fully connected and has the highest speed fibre optic on the planet.

Such diverse technological expertise has helped Etisalat Group capture significant market share as it expands across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, most notably in Egypt, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, where the introduction of innovative mobile broadband services has changed market dynamics and provided affordable mobile internet access for millions of people.

Etisalat Group’s performance and services have been widely recognised by the industry. It has won many major awards, including the prestigious annual GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards for the past four years.

Nevertheless the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, has to coming between Etisalat Nigeria and a consortium of banks over  a loan facility totalling $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) obtained in 2015, it appears the effort may not have yielded a truce, as the banks are set to take over the telecoms firm today (Wednesday).

The consortium of some foreign and Nigerian banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, have been having a running battle with the mobile telephone operator over a loan facility totalling $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) obtained in 2015.

The loan, which involved a foreign-backed guaranty bond, was for Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.

However, following the failure of the company to meet its debt servicing schedule agreed since 2016, the three Nigerian banks, prodded by their foreign partners, reported Etisalat to banking sector regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and its communications sector counterpart, the NCC.

Although Etisalat blamed its inability to fulfil its obligation to the banks on the current economic recession in Nigeria, the banks said their attempt to recover the loan by all means was fuelled by the pressure from the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, demanding immediate cut down on the rate of their non-performing loans.

A senior official of one of the banks who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES late on Tuesday said one of the options they have proposed to Etisalat management as a middle way out of the crisis was for it to request for a bankruptcy status.

The official, who requested that his name should not be revealed, since he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the consortium, said the bankruptcy option would require having receivership management appointed by the banks to oversee its operations.

But, the NCC appears not to be favourably disposed to the takeover proposal, the source said, as it believes Etisalat was not only a viable going concern, but also willing and able to negotiate its loan servicing.

 However, atop source at the NCC said late Tuesday that the commission had approved the takeover, which is expected to occur today.

According to the statement excerpted from the website of Etisalat said the company is the leading telecommunications company in the Middle East and Africa, headquartered in the UAE.


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