BREAKING: Access Bank, Others Take Over Etisalat Nigeria

June 20, 2017

By Dipo Olowookere

Operations of Etisalat Nigeria have been taken by a consortium of banks led by Access Bank Plc over $1.72 billion loan (about N541 billion) the telecom company collected for expansion few years ago.

In recent times, the fourth largest GSM service provider in Nigeria had been in discussions with the lenders on how to renegotiate a repayment of the loans it collected from the banks.

It was gathered that talks by Chairman of the firm, Mr Hakeem Bello-Osagie, to reach agreement with the banks on the debt restructuring plan failed.

Mr Bello-Osagie is the promoter of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS), believed to have 30 percent stake in Etisalat Nigeria.

Last week, it was also reported by Premium Times that the largest shareholder of the company, Mubadala Development Company of United Arab Emirates, withdrew its 70 percent stake from Etisalat Nigeria.

However, EMTS Holding BV, established in the Netherlands, has up to June 23 to complete the transfer of 100 percent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks.

Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover on Tuesday in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

The filing, with reference number Ho/GCFO/152/85, and dated June 20, 2017 signed by Etisalat Group Chief Financial Officer, Serkan Okandan, said efforts by EMTS to restructure the repayment of the syndicated loan by a consortium of banks to Etisalat Nigeria collapsed.

“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 percent and 25 percent 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 percent 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 extended the deadline for the share transfer to 5.00 pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017,” the filing said.

Dipo Olowookere

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 [email protected]

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