Regulators intervene to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse

5 Jul 2017

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has revealed that mobile operator Etisalat Nigeria and its creditors have reached a resolution on key issues on its debts and that a transition process was continuing on mutually agreed terms, reports Reuters. Earlier this year Nigeria’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers defaulted on a USD1.2 billion loan with a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks. Subsequent discussions between the operator and its lenders did not lead to a resolution on a debt restructuring plan, prompting UAE-based state investment fund Mubadala, which had a 40% stake in Etisalat Nigeria, to pull out of the cellco; Etisalat Group of the UAE is the firm’s other major shareholder, with a 45% stake.

Reuters cites regulatory sources as saying that Nigeria’s central bank and the NCC have intervened to save the cellco from collapse, adding that the resolution would ensure that Etisalat Nigeria was maintained as a going concern regardless of changes in the company’s shareholders. The source said the central bank had provided assurances to lenders but had not invested any funds, adding that Etisalat Group has indicated it may pull out of Nigeria following the debt crisis, but has not made a decision on the use of its brand in the country.