Nigeria’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS), is set to change its brand name from Etisalat Nigeria to 9mobile, following UAE-based Etisalat Group’s decision to pull out of the business, reports This Day. Earlier this year EMTS 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. 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.
Etisalat Group has since terminated its existing management and technical support agreements with EMTS, although the UAE-based telecoms group says it is in the process of negotiating new deals for technical services and strategic procurement support.