Etisalat Nigerian banks are planning to take-over telco over N541 billion debt - reports

Some of the banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, have been in a long-running battle with Etisalat over a loan facility which totals about 541.8 billion.

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Etisalat experience centre play

Etisalat experience centre

(nigeriabulletin)

A consortium of Nigerian and foreign banks could be well on their way to a hostile take-over of telecom operator Etisalat, media reports say.

According to the reports, the take-over is as a result of Etisalat's failure to service a loan facility it obtained back in 2015.

Matthew Willsher, Etisalat CEO and member of the board of the board of innovators for the prize play

Matthew Willsher, Etisalat CEO and member of the board of the board of innovators for the prize

(itnewsafrica)

 

Premium Times reports that some of the banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, have been in a long-running battle with Etisalat over the loan facility which totals $1.72 billion (about 541.8 billion).

Etisalat reportedly took the loan, which also involves a foreign-backed guaranty bond, to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.

Godwin Emefiele play Nigeria's central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele speaks during the monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria. (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

 

However, the company failed to meet up with its debt servicing requirements which led the three Nigerian banks, under pressure from their foreign partners, to report Etisalat to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) - both leading regulators in the banking and telecom sectors.

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The Premium Times report says Etisalat blamed its inability to fulfil the debt servicing terms "on the current economic recession in Nigeria." The banks, on the other hand, are going after Etisalat as pressure mounts on them from the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to cut down on their non-performing loans.

The report also mentions a "senior official of one of the banks" as saying that the consortium has proposed the option of declaring bankruptcy to Etisalat - an option which would effectively give the banks full reign over Etisalat and its operations.

Tony Ojobo, NCC spokesperson play

Tony Ojobo, NCC spokesperson

 

Apparently, the NCC has originally stood against this move, but later approved the takeover late Tuesday, the report said. The takeover is expected to go down today.

There have been no official statement from Etisalat, the banks, or any of the regulatory bodies concerning this development. Pulse Tech has reached out to the NCC and Etisalat and will update this story as we learn more.