Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat Group) has announced the termination of its existing management and technical support agreements with Nigerian mobile operator Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (operating under the brand name Etisalat Nigeria) with effect from 30 June 2017. The cancellation of the agreements on the use of the Etisalat brand in the West African nation has been deferred to 21 July 2017, although the UAE-based telecoms group says it is currently in the process of negotiating new deals for the use of the Etisalat brand, as well as technical services and strategic procurement support, with Nigeria’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers. This has allowed the parties ‘an opportunity to enter into a new interim trademark agreement without adversely impacting the company’s ability to operate in the normal course’, the firm added.
Earlier this year Etisalat Nigeria defaulted on a USD1.2 billion loan with a consortium of 13 local banks and discussions between the operator and its lenders did not lead to a resolution on a debt restructuring plan. UAE-based state investment fund Mubadala, which had a 40% stake in Etisalat Nigeria, pulled out of the cellco and in June the firm’s other major shareholder, Etisalat Group, said it had been ordered to transfer its 45% to United Capital Trustees, the security trustee of the firm’s lenders, after talks had failed. Last week Nigeria’s central bank and the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) intervened to save the cellco from collapse and maintain it as a going concern, regardless of changes in the company’s shareholders.