Etisalat Nigeria today confirmed its resolve to look into the future after losing ownership of the mobile phone company to a group of creditor banks.
Etisalat of the UAE, which currently holds 45% of Etislat Nigeria announced at the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange this morning that attempts to stave off the company’s takeover has provide abortive.
Serkan Okandan, Chief Financial Officer of Etisalat Group, the UAE mobile phone group says that both parties have reached a deal to commence transfer of ownership to the banks by 5.00pm on Friday June 23, 2017.
In Lagos, Ibrahim Dikko, Vice President, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, Etisalat Nigeria also confirmed the development this morning saying that the Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), the local investment group that owns Etisalat Nigeria has kicked off stage one of restructuring of changes to its shareholding.
Etisalat Nigeria is in talks with the creditor banks to stave off the takeover of the mobile phone company amid loans reportedly totalling N541.8 billion owed them, according to Premium Times.
Emirates Telecommunications Group, which owns 45% of Etisalat Nigeria, informed the Abu Dhabi Exchange that EMTS, the group’s local associate in Nigeria and owners of 25% stakes defaulted on a loan facility agreements “with a syndicate of Nigerian banks.”
According to Okandan, “Subsequent discussions between EMTS and EMTS Lenders did not produce an agreement on a debt restructuring plan.”
Etislat Group says it received a Default and Security Enforcement Notice on June 7, this year requesting EMTS Holding BV, the entity established in the Netherlands, through which the UAE mobile phone group holds its interest in the Nigerian mobile phone company, to initiate the transfer of its shares.
According to Etisalat Group’s CFO, EMTS BV was asked “to transfer 100% of its shares in the company to United Capital Trustees Limited (the “Security Trustee” of the EMTS Lenders) by 15 June 2017. Subsequently, the METS Lenders extended the deadline for the share transfer to 5.00pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017.”
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Under the plan, the management, technical and IP related agreements between Etisalat Group and EMTS that “includes an agreement to use the Etisalat brand, which are the subject of ongoing discussions with EMTS and EMTS Lenders”, Etisalat Group informed the Abu Dhabi Exchange.
“Should there be any material developments on this subject, a further announcement will be made in accordance with applicable Securities and Exchange rules and regulations”, Okanadan adds.
Meanwhile, in Lagos, Nigeria, Etisalat Nigeria says it “can now confirm the first stage of this has begun with a change in shareholding which was announced to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange this morning.”
Vice President, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs at Etisalat Nigeria confirms that “discussions are on-going regarding other issues such as the trading name during this transition phase. Operations and services to our subscribers remain normal and will in no way be affected as we continue to deliver quality services to our subscribers.”
According to Dikko, “we will continue to tap into the rich, creative and innovative resources within our workforce to build a stronger business upon the stable foundation we have laid in our 9 years of operations.”
The company’s Vice President, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs also promised to update stakeholders on further developments regarding the transfer of shareholding “shortly.”
“Etisalat Nigeria wishes to express its profound gratitude to the Government, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their patriotic zeal and tireless efforts at ensuring collaborative and productive engagement. We are also appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from the media since inception and we count on their continued support as we transition to a stronger business”, Dikko adds.