Nigeria's central bank and its telecoms regulator have intervened to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with lenders to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed, according to a report by Reuters.
Earlier reports indicated that the Etisalat group and Abu Dhabi state investment fund Mubadala pulled out of Etisalat Nigeria.
Etisalat Nigeria Chairman Hakeem Belo-Osagie has resigned, followed by resignations of Etisalat Nigeria’s CEO Matthew Willsher and CFO Wole Obasunloye. Boye Olusanya, former deputy managing director of Celtel Nigeria (now Airtel Nigeria), will be the chief executive officer of Etisalat Nigeria during the transition period, as reported by TheCable.
NCC has warned the creditors that the licence awarded to Etisalat Nigeria is not transferable, effectively stopping the banks from taking ownership of the company. Etisalat Nigeria signed a $1.2 billion medium-term facility with 13 Nigerian banks in 2013, which it used to refinance an existing $650 million loan and modernise its network. But an economic downturn, a currency devaluation and dollar shortages led to it missing payment.
In other developments, two major international telcos have reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring mobile operator Etisalat Nigeria, according to a report by TeleGeography, citing local news source Brandish. France’s Orange Group and UK-based Vodafone Group are among five companies that have shown an interest in acquiring a stake in the mobile operator.