BREAKING: Access Bank, others take over Etisalat Nigeria over N541bn debt

Access Bank PLC and other Nigerian and foreign banks have taken over the management of Etisalat Nigeria, Premium Times reports.

This was after after efforts by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, promoted former Chairman, United Bank for Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie to reach agreement with the banks on debt restructuring plan of $1.72 billion failed.

According to Premium Times, EMTS Holding has until June 23 to complete the transfer of 100 percent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the legal representative of the consortium of banks.

Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover on Tuesday in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

“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 extened the deadline for the share transfer to 5.00 pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017,” the filing said.

Etisalat had borrowed a $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) loan facility from a consortium of banks in 2015.

The Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria had persuaded the banks to give Etisalat a chance to renegotiate the loan’s repayment schedule in 2016.

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