Nigeria’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS), has officially changed its brand name from Etisalat Nigeria to 9mobile, following UAE-based Etisalat Group’s decision to pull out of the business. Reuters cites a statement from the operator as saying that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been notified of the new name, adding that the move was to ensure business continuity.
Earlier this year EMTS defaulted on a USD1.2 billion loan with a consortium of 13 local banks and discussions on a debt restructuring plan between the operator and its lenders did not lead to a resolution. 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. Nigeria’s central bank and the 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 terminated its existing management and technical support agreements with EMTS, and gave it three weeks to phase out the brand.