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Etisalat: Window of hostile acquisition widens with Belo-Osagie’s resignation


Following the resignation of the Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, Hakeem Belo-Osagie, from the telecommunications company over the $588.6m debt owed a consortium of 13 banks, pundits following the development has argued that chances of a possible acquisition of the company by new investors are getting brighter.

In statement from Etisalat Nigeria explained that Belo-Osagie had planned to leave immediately the banks made moves to take over the firm, but opted to tarry until a road map for the company was finalised.

Business Hilights recalls that late last month, just barely a week ago, the largest shareholder in Etisalat Nigeria, the Mubadala Development Company, pulled out of the company, having transferred its 45 per cent shares to the banking consortium as part of the $1.2bn loan default repayment.

The resignation of the Bello-Osagie brought to seven the total number of the seven-man board of the telecoms company who had earlier resigned, meaning that the company may be operating without a well constituted board.

The six Mubadala and Etisalat Group appointed non-executive directors were non-Nigerians.

Etisalat statement noted that “The timing of the resignation was strategically delayed till now when stakeholders have agreed a plan, and comes more than a week after Mubadala Development Company directors tendered their resignation”.

“The development also reflects Belo-Osagie’s deep commitment to protecting the interest of all stakeholders.”

Analysts say the implication of the emerging developments is for Etisalat Nigeria under its new shareholding structure to navigate through the current loan repayment challenge with minimum impact.