Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Advert space

What if Globacom or Dangote buys Etisalat to rest loan default crisis, grow sector?

Crack analysts and deep pocket pundits in the nation’s telecoms sector have started putting figures, trends and happenstances together on a tactical way forward that can better the lot of the industry in Nigeria.

One of their proposals is tilting towards a local investor who has the capacity to buy over the embattled credit-ridden Middle-East telecoms, Etisalat in other to end the lingering crisis and further enable Nigerian banks to get their money and clean up their books ahead of Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) hot chase over financial statements very soon.

One of the industry analysts who pleaded anonymity said “I find it very difficult to see Etisalat solving this debt crisis alone and the parent company has come and gone, nothing happened.

“Now, look at it from this angle, the banks are madly in need of their money and they are not laughing at all. Yes, the presidency, Minister and NCC can come and say one thing or the other, the fact remains that the company owes some people who need their money urgently.

Corroborating this analyst, an insider in some of the deal who pleaded anonymity hinted to Business Hilights that “To me, it may not be out of place for Nigerians to hear one day that Globalcom is putting down some money to buy up the company to drive capacity consolidation after all.  I think that will be a good buy. It will help sort out the banks who are need of their money and rest the matter once and for all.

“Like I said earlier, if that happens, it will not be the first telecom company to be sold and bought in Nigeria. Remember Visafone, it was sold. So if you ask me, I will tell you that if Globacom goes there, it will be a better deal for the entire industry.

Globacom has a natural advantage to raise enough fund to buy Etisalat; that is if it does not currently has the needed deep pocket to do that now. Moreover such acquisition will smartly shut up the company’s capacity, global rating and service delivery including coverage and tailored services. Recall that mergers and acquisitions are possible in any sector, it has happened in banks some years ago and nothing is bad about it in telecoms.

“On Dangote Group coming in, I think the  group is still watching the telecoms industry even though it has some time ago bought a frequency and later sold to the same Etisalat, I think one need to find out if he is still looking at telecoms for now.

In his further submission, the expert said “I think Glo is good to go if it decides”.

Observers are still at sea on the real next step Etisalat wishes to take to exit the challenge of the debt. Recently, there were indications that the offer of five per cent equity it put on the table for banks were roundly rejected, thus raising tension of a hostile takeover if nothing is done as soon as possible.

However in a terse statement, Etisalat claimed that it is still in discussions with its banking consortium regarding existing obligations under the syndicated loan agreement signed in 2013.

The company said “Whilst we are aware of recent news reports stating that the offer has been rejected by the banks, we cannot confirm this as true as no formal communication has been received from the banks regarding the proposal”.

“Etisalat has so far held robust discussions with lenders in good faith, and we hope that all areas of discord will be resolved in due course. Indeed the current economic challenges have occasioned untold hardship on the telecom industry as a whole, thus requiring a major shift in position by all affected parties.

“We continue to explore all available options to pull through this phase. We will continue to engage all relevant parties in earnest with a view to securing a mutually agreeable outcome.

“Furthermore, we are not taking anything off the table at this time, and Etisalat assures all stakeholders that the ongoing discussions are not intended nor expected to impact negatively on the company’s ability to continue providing seamless communications services to our subscribers,” embattled Etisalat noted.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More