By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A loan facility worth $230 million has been granted to one of the GSM network providers in Nigeria, 9mobile, by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
The credit facility, which was approved on Friday, August 23, is to boost the long-term growth plans of the new board and management of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), operators of 9mobile, which used to be known as Etisalat Nigeria.
Business Post gathered that the facility is divided into two tranches and would, among others, be used to repay historic vendor obligations, finance costs and an interest reserve account and payment towards quick win capex initiatives.
It was further learned that the loan was approved on the conviction of the initiatives so far taken by the Mr Nasiru Ado Bayero-led board and management headed by Acting Managing Director, Mr Stephane Beuvelet, to return the multi-award-winning company to the path of growth and profitability through cost efficiency, innovative product development and network efficiency.
In a letter addressed to both Mr Bayero and Mr Beuvelet, the financial institution said, “Africa Finance Corporation is pleased to inform Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services that it has received full board approval to support the turnaround strategy of EMTS through a $230 million super senior debt investment.”
Commenting on the approval, Mr Bayero expressed happiness that EMTS’ effort to recover previously ceded ground through an innovative growth plan is being supported by a prestigious Pan-African financial institution as the AFC.
“We can only express gratitude to the AFC for approving this loan facility that would not only help our business sustainability but also grow it to serve our teeming and loyal customers in Nigeria better.
“We have completely reviewed our operational, regulatory, financial and technical architecture to ensure we deliver quality services and this facility would go a long way in giving best in class services to Nigerians,” he said.
Mr Ado Bayero further assured of the company’s resolve to continue its aggressive enhancement of network capacity and innovative features to guarantee optimum value to customers.
He added that “our turnaround efforts are well and truly underway. We had promised when we took over that we would justify the confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value Nigerians get for using 9mobile. This is part of fulfilling our promise.”
Also commenting on the transaction, 9mobile’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr Phillips Oki said, “The success of this transaction by way of the approval of the board of Africa Finance Corporation is a sound affirmation of our belief that the fundamentals of the 9mobile business are indeed strong.
“It is also an attestation to the fact that the operational restructuring and financial reengineering we have done since we assumed ownership have launched 9mobile on the path of growth and profitability. With this facility, our subscribers, staff and vendors should get ready to switch on to better days with 9mobile. We will reclaim every lost ground in the market in the coming months.”
It will be recalled that the new board led by Mr Bayero took over 9mobile in November 2018 following a successful acquisition by Teleology Nigeria Limited.
Other members of the board include non-executive directors, Asega Aliga, Mohammed Edewor and Winston Ndubueze Udeh. Executive Director, Abdulrahman Ado and Acting Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet.
The AFC is a pan-African multilateral development financial institution established to bridge Africa’s infrastructure investment gap through the provision of debt and equity finance, project development, technical and financial advisory services.
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