Nigeria’s 9mobile starts repaying debt after Teleology takeover
Nigeria’s fourth-biggest wireless carrier 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, repaid part of a loan taken from a group of banks following its acquisition by Teleology Holdings Ltd.
“The money has been distributed to the banks,” Abiola Rasaq, head of investor relations at Lagos-based United Bank for Africa Plc, one of the institutions that received a payment, said by phone. The reimbursement is expected to improve the asset quality of the creditor banks that had classified the loan as non-performing, he said.
Lending bankers in June last year took over the telecommunications company then known as Etisalat and subsequently announced changes in the shareholding structure of the company.
Access Bank Plc and other Nigerian banks eventually took over the management of the company, effective June 15 after a protracted $1.2 billion debt impasse. Other lenders in the loan deal are Zenith Bank, GTBank, First Bank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank.
The affected banks had requested a new management of the telecoms firm then.
Indeed, the takeover followed the collapse of efforts by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS), promoted by a former Chairman of UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, to reach an agreement with the banks on the restructuring of the $1.2 billion debt.
The take over, however, did not affect the operations of the company as it continued to render services to its teeming subscribers.
“We continue to deliver quality services to our subscribers. 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 nine years of operations”, said Ibrahim Dikko, Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs then.
Dikko said Etisalat Nigeria had commenced its restructuring with changes to its shareholding. “As it had earlier stated in a release, the negotiations with the consortium of lenders are considering a number of possible options.
“Etisalat Nigeria 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 (yesterday),” the statement said.
Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate on June 20, 2017.
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
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