N541.8 billion debt: Three Nigerian banks set to take over Etisalat

An Etisalat Office
An Etisalat Office

Despite the intervention of the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, to broker a peaceful resolution between Etisalat Nigeria and a consortium of banks, it appears the effort may not have yielded a truce, as the banks are set to take over the telecoms firm today (Wednesday), PREMIUM TIMES learnt

The consortium of some foreign and Nigerian banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, have been having a running battle with the mobile telephone operator over a loan facility totalling $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) obtained in 2015.

The loan, which involved a foreign-backed guaranty bond, was for Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.

However, following the failure of the company to meet its debt servicing schedule agreed since 2016, the three Nigerian banks, prodded by their foreign partners, reported Etisalat to banking sector regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and its communications sector counterpart, the NCC.

Although Etisalat blamed its inability to fulfil its obligation to the banks on the current economic recession in Nigeria, the banks said their attempt to recover the loan by all means was fuelled by the pressure from the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, demanding immediate cut down on the rate of their non-performing loans.

A senior official of one of the banks who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES late on Tuesday said one of the options they have proposed to Etisalat management as a middle way out of the crisis was for it to request for a bankruptcy status.

The official, who requested that his name should not be revealed, since he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the consortium, said the bankruptcy option would require having receivership management appointed by the banks to oversee its operations.

But, the NCC appears not to be favourably disposed to the takeover proposal, the source said, as it believed that Etisalat is not only a viable going concern but also willing and able to negotiate the servicing of its loans.

Etisalat is Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms operator, with about 21 million subscribers as at January 2017, according to the NCC. It commenced business in Nigeria in 2009.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to correct the impression created by the earlier version that the NCC had approved the takeover.


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  • jon

    Talk about bad management money was embezzled with banks more stories later wash out how can a mobile operator in nigeria lack funds 21 million if 10 million spend average of 200 a day which we do is in billions please not take over but investigation on where the money is

    • realist

      Mismanagement and high level corruption. The management of the company should be probed you will be surprised on how and where the money was stalked in forms of property, exotic cars etc. Telecommunication as far as Nigeria population is concerned should have be recession proved.

  • KAL

    Nigeria is one huge crime scene now. N541billion debt by Etisalat? Something isn’t right here. Corruption is gradually killing Nigeria and if nothing is done ASAP, Nigeria will soon disappear. Things are so bad and we better see how corruptions are destroying the very fundamentals of a country called Nigeria.

  • dami

    Exchange rate deferential has skewed etisalat’ ability to pay back…after all they earn in Naira and are expected to service a dollar denominated loan.

  • Mr

    Sai Baba…chanji

    • oyoko

      Its only Sai Baba that can form and impress this kind of change. I wonder how a multinational company can assess this huge kind of loan from local banks? days of impunity is really coming to an end.

  • Tunde

    So, you know how to call in your loans abi? What about the NPL’s you executive have with yourselves, which is at 40%? Who’s going to recall that? Bank thieves!!!

  • Room 23

    ACT 1, SCENE 1
    So, in the evening of Wednesday February 27, Mrs. Yaro flew to Lagos ahead of Mr. Sanusi, skipping work, at taxpayers’ expense, on Thursday February 28 and Friday, March 1… To keep faith with Mrs. Yaro’s date, the CBN governor arrived Lagos, travelling on a chartered flight, on the night of February 28, and checked into the Federal Palace Hotel, passage and boarding all at taxpayers’ expense.

    ACT 1, SCENE 2
    Mrs. Yaro arrived Lagos on the night of March 15, and immediately checked into the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel on Victoria Island. Mr. Sanusi flew from Kano to Lagos via chartered jet on the bills of the Nigerian taxpayers. He arrived at about 11 p.m., stopped by his Ikoyi home, before dashing to the hotel where Mrs. Yaro was waiting in a seductive dress in Room 23. The lovers spent that night and the next day together in the hotel…Both Mr. Sanusi and Mrs. Yaro rendezvoused in the hotel till Sunday when both of them returned to Abuja, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.


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  • Room 23

    “…I had such a wonderful weekend,” Mrs. Yaro confessed to the governor while aboard her Abuja-bound flight. “You have revived in me what I thought I lost long ago. I thought I lost the passion to love again,” she claimed.
    “Alhamdulillahi. Love you,” Mr. Sanusi responded in a measured tone —– Premium Times, June 2, 2013

    ….and he became an Emir=King= of his people…possible only in warped Nigeria

  • Bos ode

    Well this is what is good for our banks. They’ll never give loans to SME’s to grow. Only big big companies, because of their selfish interest. These Nigerian banks do not have any Nationalist objective.

    • Julius

      If Nationalist objectives matter then an inept, sickly and dumb like Buhari and people like Obasanjo would never have been President. So keep your so-called ‘Nationalistic objective’ inside your pocket. Ok? Besides, Nationalistic objectives exist only in Nations. Nigeria is sure not a nation but a medley of Nations.

      • Oladele

        Stop to talking about President Muhammadu Okechukwu Buhari like that. An Igwe in the SE gave him names and others are: Anyanwu, Egbugara, Acholonu, EKeanyanwu….

    • Oty

      Because they’re foreign owned.

    • NamesAre4Tombstones

      At least they have something to cease from Etisalat if the loan goes bad.

      If they give you loan and you default, what will they collect from you?

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  • Mangana

    Funny how some people think. Nigeria had in many years companies/organisations or individuals who obtained loans for one project or the other and refused to pay which ended the life of many banks as per being distressed. These banks are owned by same people who obtained such loans – its like a ponzi scheme. Now a government ensures we do away with such and had regulatory bodies chase after banks who in return chase after those owing them and we complain. How can an organisation that spends hundreds of millions on brand ambassadors and music talent shows or adverts and promotions while it pays staff peanuts (most especially call centre staff owe so much billions of naira? Nigerians has so much Masters holders and everyone is a CEO of one outfit or the other while we also are members of many professional bodies yet lack the basics of management. We cant manage any form of resources and its evident from our lifestyles -fake. We ruined the economy over the years and now still have the guts to blame Buhari. Did Buhari grant this loan? Am amazed at the way some people think – no wonder the economy was in shambles and over 70% of the citizens cant boast of N2M in their bank accounts as average daily balance.