Etisalat Nigeria goes into receivership, Access Bank, others take over
Despite the efforts of the telecom regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to save it from possible receivership, some banks have at last taken over the management of telecom giant, Etisalat Nigeria. This followed the inability of the telco to service its loan from a consortium of banks.
Etisalat was a late entrant into the rewarding Nigerian telecom market and was able to claw deep into the growing subscriber base through its innovative marketing and youth-focused packages. It also showed network integrity in data.
Recently, both the NCC and CBN intervened to stave off a takeover by creditor banks. But at last the banks led by Access Bank PLC and other local and foreign banks have taken over the company effective June 15.
Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover on Tuesday in a letter filed to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate. The letter signed by Etisalat Group Chief Financial Officer, Serkan Okandan, noted that efforts by EMTS to restructure the repayment of the syndicated loan by a consortium of banks to Etisalat Nigeria had collapsed.
The letter read inter alia: “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 5.00 pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017.”