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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

EtiAccess coming your way, as bank loan forces Etisalat to change name

The Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited currently trading as Etisalat Nigeria may have been taken over by Nigerian banks led by Access Bank plc, reports ITRealms.

This may have led to industry watchers to postulate that Etisalat Nigeria may after all change its name to EtiAccess.

Confirming plans to tinker on the changing structure of Etisalat Nigeria including its shareholding, the Vice President, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, Etisalat Nigeria, Ibrahim Dikko, said the telco has commenced
restructuring with changes to its shareholding.

“As it had earlier stated in a release, the negotiations with the consortium of Lenders are considering a number of possible options,” he told ITRealms.

According to him, Etisalat Nigeria can now confirm the first stage of this has begun with a change in shareholding which was announced to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange this Tuesday morning.

“Etisalat Nigeria can confirm discussions are on-going regarding other issues such as the trading name during this transition phase,” he revealed but added that operations and services to subscribers remain normal and would in no way be affected.

“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 9 years of operations,” he declared.

Further, he expresses, Etisalat Nigeria profound 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.


ITRealms gathered that as part of the outcome of the last meeting, the parties comprising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), EMTS agreed on June 23 date to transfer 100 per cent to United Capital Limited Trustees, on behalf of the bank consortium, but a few days to this deadline, owners of Etisalat brand, Mubadala, made a technical withdrawal by filing a takeover of its shares at the Abu Dhabi stock exchange, today, Tuesday, 20 June, 2017.

Thus, paving the way for the official takeover by the next in line of majority shares, which in this instance are the bank consortum led by by Access Bank plc.

ITRealms recalls that on March 10, this year, in order to forestall the crises capable of creating a backlash on Foreign Director Investor, the apex telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), CBN and some 13 banks met in Abuja, with top on agenda being how to harmoniously restructure the Etisalat indebtedness worth.

The meeting which was held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, was convened by the apex bank at the instance of NCC, to further deliberate on how best to stave off the attempt by the banks to takeover Etisalat.

While Etisalat reported owes Access Bank plc the sum of N40 billion, about $131 million, other members of the bank consortium include Zenith Bank, GTBank, First Bank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank.
 
Chuks Egbune/GEE
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