The lenders of Nigerian wireless operator 9mobile, which was known as Etisalat Nigeria until July this year, have selected Barclays to find new investors for the indebted cellco. Reuters cites two banking sources as saying that Barclays is in the process of setting up a database for prospective investors to conduct due diligence on 9mobile, which had just over 18 million subscribers at the end of June 2017.
Then known as Etisalat Nigeria, the country’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers defaulted on a USD1.2 billion loan with a consortium of 13 local banks earlier this year, and discussions on a debt restructuring plan between the operator and its lenders did not lead to a resolution. Etisalat Group of the United Arab Emirates was ordered to transfer its 45% stake to United Capital Trustees, the security trustee of the firm’s lenders, and terminated its existing management and technical support agreements with the cellco, which was rebranded to 9mobile in July. Lenders have delayed taking provisions on the debt and agreed to extend the loan pending the sale to new investors.