$1.2b Debt: Etisalat Confirms Progress in Talks with Banks

By Dipo Olowookere

Etisalat Nigeria has confirmed that it was making progress in its discussions with its bankers concerning the $1.2 billion loan it took few years ago.

Initially, there were reports that about 13 banks were planning to take over the telecoms firm because it failed to repay the loan.

However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) waded into the matter to stop that move.

Few weeks ago, it was learnt that officials of Etisalat Nigeria and the banks met in London for a meeting on the possible ways to pay back the loan without issues.

On Thursday (today), Etisalat Nigeria confirmed in a statement to the media that “discussions are not only ongoing with our bankers but good progress has been made so far.”

In the statement signed by Mr Ibrahim Dikko, the Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, the firm expressed optimism that an “agreement will be reached shortly and this will be communicated through the appropriate channels of the involved stakeholders.”

Mr Dikko explained that this information had to be revealed because of “news reports credited to some unofficial sources claiming that the on-going discussions with our bankers have become stalled or reached a deadlock.”

He appealed to “our media partners who have indeed been critical to the success of our business over the years, to await the official communication of the outcome of the ongoing discussions and not lend their credible platforms to speculative and presumptive analysis of the discussions.”

He said, “As a business, our immediate focus is to ensure that we not only sustain a positive performance, but that we are in a position to continue to grow the business, deliver excellent customer service and increase value to our stakeholders which includes our bankers.”

“We wish to assure our esteemed customers, service providers and other relevant stakeholders that Etisalat Nigeria has and will indeed continue to operate normally whilst these discussions are on-going,” the statement concluded.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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