Etisalat Nigeria has gotten a reprieve, thanks to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The two regulatory agencies intervened when a consortium of banks moved to take over the telecoms operator over the operator’s indebtedness.
Following the intervention of the CBN and NCC, the banks have agreed to pursue a default deal rather than a receivership for the operator. The involved banks include Zenith Bank, GTBank, First Bank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank.
Saved, But There May Be More
While the move by the CBN and NCC is seen as a good one by industry analysts who believe that it will avert a bigger crisis, Etisalat Nigeria itself may have to deal with related issues. For example, The Punch reports that Abu Dhabi telecoms group, Etisalat “may sell its stake in Etisalat Nigeria, which has defaulted on a $1.2bn loan, but wants the company’s debt restructured before it does so, Reuters quoted two sources as informing it on Monday”.
An exit by Etisalat global would be a big blow to the operator. We will keep monitoring the situation and bring you more updates as things unfold. For now, it is good news that Etisalat subscribers have nothing to worry about. The threat of a takeover of Nigeria’s 4th largest telecom operator is in the past.