UAE-based telecommunications giant, Etisalat, has been ordered to transfer its 45 percent stake in Etisalat Nigeria to a loan trustee after debt restructuring talks with lenders failed.
Etisalat Nigeria had been in talks to restructure a $1.2 billion loan after missing repayment of the loan with a syndicate of Nigerian banks and subsequent discussions between the operator and its lenders did not lead to a resolution on a debt restructuring plan.
The consortium of banks, led by Access Bank PLC and other Nigerian and foreign banks, has taken over the management of Etisalat Nigeria, effective June 15, according to an announcement by Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat, on Tuesday.
The statement made public by Etisalat’s Chief Financial Officer, Serkan Okandan, through the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, noted that the syndicate had set a June 25th deadline for transfer of ownership of Etisalat Nigeria shares.
The statement read, “Further to our announcement dated 12 February, 2017, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC, “Etisalat Group” would like to inform you that Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited “EMTS” (“the company), established in Nigeria and an associate of Etisalat Group with effective ownership of 45% and 25% ordinary and preference shares respectively, defaulted on a facility agreement with a syndicate of Nigerian banks (“EMTS Lenders”).
“Subsequently, discussions between EMTS and the EMTS Lenders did not produce an agreement on a debt restructuring plan.
“Accordingly, the Company received a default and security Enforcement Notice on 9 June 2017 requesting EMTS Holding BV (EMTS BV) established in the Netherlands, and through which Etisalat Group holds its interest in the company) requiring EMTS BV to transfer 100% of its shares in the company to the United Capital Trustees Limited (the Security Trustee”) of the EMTS Lenders by 15 June 2017.
“Subsequently the EMTS Lenders extended the deadline for the share transfer to 5.00 pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017.”
Etisalat Nigeria is 45 per cent owned by Mubadala Investment Company, an Abu Dhabi government-owned strategic investment company, 40 per cent owned by Etisalat and 15 per cent owned by MyaCynth, an investment vehicle controlled by Hakeem Belo-Osagie, a Nigerian businessman who serves as chairman of Etisalat Nigeria.
The company said it would make a further announcement if there was any change in the situation.