A consortium of banks made up of Access Bank Plc, Ecobank Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank and Union Bank, and others, have finally taken over the management of the Etisalat Nigeria Limited. The takeover which was consummated on June 15, 2017 ended months of speculations about the company’s future after it failed to honour the terms of $1.72 syndicated loan facility arranged for it in 2015 by local and foreign financial institutions.
According to Sun, the loan which was a foreign-backed guaranteed bond was meant to assist Etisalat Nigeria expand its network and refinance an existing $600million facility to help it compete in the nation’s rapidly growing telecoms industry.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier mediated on the impasse by urging the banks to give Etisalat a chance to renegotiate the loan’s repayment schedule.
The takeover of Etisalat followed the collapse of efforts by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, (EMTS), promoted by-one time Chairman, United Bank for Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, to reach agreement with the banks for the restructuring of the its N541.8 billion debt owed the banks.
However, EMTS Holding BV, established in the Netherlands, has up to June 23 to complete the transfer of 100 percent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks.
Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover on yesterday in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.
The filing, with reference number Ho/GCFO/152/85, and dated June 20, 2017 signed by Etisalat Group Chief Financial Officer, Serkan Okandan, said efforts by EMTS to restructure the repayment of the syndicated loan by a consortium of banks to Etisalat Nigeria collapsed.
“Further to our announcement dated 12 February, 2017, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC, “Etisalat Group” would like to inform you that Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited “EMTS” (“the company), established in Nigeria and an associate of Etisalat Group with effective ownership of 45 per cent and 25 per cent ordinary and preference shares respectively, defaulted on a facility agreement with a syndicate of Nigerian banks (“EMTS Lenders”).
“Subsequently, discussions between EMTS and the EMTS Lenders did not produce an agreement on a debt restructuring plan.
“Accordingly, the company received a default and security Enforcement Notice on June 9, 2017 requesting EMTS Holding BV (EMTS BV) established in the Netherlands, and through which Etisalat Group holds its interest in the company) requiring EMTS BV to transfer 100 per cent of its shares in the company to the United Capital Trustees Limited (the Security Trustee”) of the EMTS Lenders by June 15, 2017.
“Subsequently the EMTS Lenders extended the deadline for the share transfer to 5.00 pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017,” the filing said.
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