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UK investors willing to offset 9mobile’s $1.2b debt closes in on deal

Chances of local investors cashing in on acquiring cash-strapped 9mobile are fading as Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunications service provider, is gearing towards sealing a deal with investors from the United Kingdom.

Investigations by Business Hilights showed that key pointer to the emerging deal stemmed from the readiness of the ‘veiled’ investors to effectively offset the telecoms $1.2 billion loan debt.

Since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), intervened alongside with the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), it appointed key directors with a former deputy governor, Dr. Joseph Nnanna as board chairman to within a timeframe of 180 days find buyers.

Only last week, the managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, said that all the banks whose money is trapped are working together for smooth sale of the telecoms on or before the end of the year.

Explaining industry issues in a recent interactive session with select editors and publishers in Lagos, he said “As you are aware, the creditor banks came together to appoint a new Board and Management for the company, with the Deputy Governor of the CBN as chairman of the Board”.

“The company has good fundamentals with about 22 million subscribers, and it is also very strong in data. Our interest is to ensure the company remains a going concern so that it can attract interested buyers. The banks are working collectively on this,” Fidelity bank chief executive revealed.

It would recalled that at the heat of the $1.2bn syndicated loan default crisis which nearly grounded the former Etisalat, both the telecoms regulator and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), considered the volume of subscribers and intervened.

Part of the intervention was the appointment of former Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr. Joseph Nnanna to head the chair the board and prepare it for potential investors between 90 to 180 days.

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