HIGHLIGHT – Etisalat Nigeria
Etisalat Nigeria has been taken over by a consortium banks which are Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank.
This follows the inability of Etisalat Nigeria to repay a loan of $1.72bn (about N541.8bn) it obtained from the banks in 2015, Proshare says.
A former GTB executive director who is familiar with the issue, said the action became necessary since the Nigerian Communications Commission could not broker a peaceful resolution between Etisalat Nigeria and the banks.
He said the loan involved a foreign-backed guaranty bond and was given to Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.
He explained “the banks reported the company to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the NCC,” after it failed to repay the loan in 2016.
He said Etisalat was given the option of filing for bankruptcy but the telecoms firm refused to take the advice. This option, he said, would have required the banks just a management to oversee the telecoms firm’s operations.
“While all these were happening, the management at Guaranty Trust Bank and the other banks concerned had thought that the Nigerian Communications Commission would have used its powers as a regulator to bail the telco out, or advise them accordinly, but it became obvious that the NCC wasn’t so interested. It was merely buying time for Etisalat.”