Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

GTB, Zenith Bank, others await second tranche of Etisalat’s negotiated loan payment

Indications have emerged, showing that the dusts raised by $1.2 billion, about N30bn loan jointly pulled by a consortium of banks in 2013 for Etisalat are yet to settle.

Earlier last month, banks involved in the deal opened up to the media threatening to take over the telecoms group on grounds of breaches to the loan repayment deal, but the timely intervention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lead to a fresh repayment understanding.

Otherwise, both federal agencies forced the banks to agree on a new date for another payment schedule of N30 billion.

Banks involved in the deal include Zenith Bank Plc, GTB Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, United Bank of Africa Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, Keystone Bank Limited, First City Monument Bank Plc, FSDH Merchant Bank, Mainstreet Bank Limited, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc.

Giving a rather very brief comment on the status of the matter at a recent media parley with select Business Editors and publishers in Lagos, group managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, simply said all is well with the banks and the mobile operator.

He was however quick to add that “NCC and CBN are involved in the negotiation, so, I am not saying anything. All I can say is that Etisalat met all their loan obligations at the end of February”.

In the words of Agbaje, “We expect them to meet their next loan obligation”.

Details gathered show that Etisalat had planned to use the proceeds to refinance existing commercial medium-term debt of $650million and continue its network rollout across the country. Part of the proceeds was also to continue the release of innovative products and services to its subscribers. The loan facility comes in both naira and United States dollar components.

Business Hilights gathered that trouble had started when Etisalat saw that scarcity of forex is getting out of hand and wrote the banks explaining the challenge it was facing and urging that it should be allowed to pay the forex currency component of the $1.2 billion in naira value or through its Euro domiciliary account but the banks refused to acknowledge the offer.

But a twist emerged when the banks roundly said no to the letter leading to the halted move to take over the company by the banks.

It would be recalled that NCC first came into the matter and later involved the apex bank who even expressed anger over the way and manner the banks took to the press without exploring all necessary avenues to resolve the matter including involving it, the CBN.

Moves made by our correspondent to find out when Etisalat will make another payment failed as at press time.

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