$1.72b Debt: Access Bank takes over Etisalat

Owners of Etisalat Nigeria has begun changes in shareholding in line with its restructuring measures to hand it over to a  consortium of financial institutions, led by Access Bank with effect from June 15, over its huge debt.

The change in shareholding was announced to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

The situation may have been necessitated by the take-over of the management of Etisalat Nigeria by a consortium of financial institutions, led by Access Bank with effect from June 15.

Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, promoted by-one time Chairman, United Bank for Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, had failed to reach agreement with the banks on debt restructuring plan in the protracted $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) debt impasse.

EMTS Holding BV which was established in the Netherlands has up to June 23 to transfer of 100 per cent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks.

Etisalat Nigeria can confirm discussions are on-going regarding other issues such as the trading name during this transition phase.

The telecommunication outfit also said it had started negotiations with the consortium of lenders which were considering a number of possible options.

“Operations and services to our subscribers remain normal and will in no way be affected as we continue to deliver quality services to our subscribers,’’ Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, Vice President, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs of Etisalat Nigeria, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We will continue to tap into the rich, creative and innovative resources within our workforce to build a stronger business upon the stable foundation we have laid in our nine years of operations.’’

Etisalat expressed gratitude to the government, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their patriotic zeal and tireless efforts at ensuring collaborative and productive engagement.

“We are also appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from the media since inception and we count on their continued support as we transition to a stronger business.

“We will update our stakeholders and the public on further developments shortly,’’ he said.

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