By | June 20, 2017

Some banks have now assumed management of telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria.

The banks, comprised of foreign and local banks, that took over the telecommunication company was led by Access Bank PLC.

The assumption came as a resolution to an ineffective effort of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, advocated by one-time Chairman, United Bank of Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, to attain agreement with the banks on debt restructuring plan in the prolonged $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) debt stalemate.

Although, EMTS Holding BV, well known in the Netherlands, has up to June 23 to finish the transfer of 100% of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legitimate representative of the association of banks.

The parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, Etisalat Group, made public the acquisition on Tuesday in a letter classified to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

A letter which was dated June 2017, with No. Ho/GCFO/152/85 signed by Etisalat Group Chief Financial Officer, Serkan Okandan, cited that attempts by EMTS to reconstitute the repayment of the syndicated bank facility by an association of banks to Etisalat Nigeria subsided.

It added, “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% and 25% 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 9 June 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% of its shares in the company to the United Capital Trustees Limited (the Security Trustee) of the EMTS Lenders by 15 June 2017.”

“Subsequently the EMTS Lenders extend the deadline for the share transfer to 5:00PM Lagos time on 23 June 2017,” the filing said.

Etisalat Nigeria has been under duress since 2016, following the request notice for the retrieval of a $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) loan facility it acquired from an association of banks in 2015.

The loan, which included a foreign-backed guaranty bond, was for the mobile telephone operator to fund a major network rehabilitation and development of its operational base in Nigeria.

Incapable to meet its debt servicing responsibilities agreed since 2016, the association, prompted by their foreign partners, menaced to assume the company and its assets across the country.

The intervention of the telecom sector regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and its financial sector counterpart, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was successful in convincing the banks to reanalyze their threat and give Etisalat a chance to renegotiate the loan’s repayment schedule.  0 COMMENTS

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