Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Banks yet to consider Etisalat’s parent group’s proposal on debt restructuring

It is not yet uhuru for Etisalat Nigeria as the new deal proposed by its core investors, the Etisalat Abu Dhabi, is yet to be considered by13 creditor banks.

Business Hilights gathered that the parent company, Etisalat Abu Dhabi, had during its courtesy visit to the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta indicated readiness to inject fresh funds to recapitalise the embattled Nigerian subsidiary.

But a dependable source in one of the banks who had been on the know of the matter confided in our correspondent on Wednesday evening that “As a matter of fact, we the creditor banks are yet to look at their presentation critically on our own even though we all met with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently”.

“Do not forget, the CBN may not decide for us, because the, money in question belong to us and the same CBN will say that non-performing loans are killing our banks.

Business Hilights recalls that the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Danbatta, had hinted on the meeting during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos recently but was economical with words as to how the banks saw the matters as presented by the core investors.

However, he was quick to aver that the resolution of the debt impasse was part of the Commission’s intervention aimed at ensuring the growth of the telecoms industry and the Nigerian economy, assuring that the servicing of the $1.2billion debt would commence soon.

NCC boss further noted that “Etisalat has about $2billion of its estimated $20billion global networth in Nigeria against which the Abu Dhabi-based parent company affirmed it would not abandon Africa’s largest market because of obligations owed local banks. Although he could not specify when the UAE telecommunications investor would inject the fresh funds into its Nigerian arm, he assured the Commission would continue to partner relevant stakeholders to encourage investors through the provision of level playing field.

Etisalat Nigeria had signed a $1.2 billion medium-term facility with a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks in 2013, which it used to refinance an existing $650 million loan and fund a modernisation of its network.

Another top official in one of the banks confided in Business Hilights that “Well, after ongoing series of meetings, we may come up with a statement on the matter, may be by Monday next week or so?