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Access Bank, Others take over Etisalat Nigeria

A consortium of banks led by Access Bank Plc. and other Nigerian and foreign banks have reportedly taken over the affairs of Etisalat Nigeria over its unpaid N541.8 billion debt.

According to report, the management of Etisalat Nigeria has since shifted hands effective June 15 after the management failed to repay its $1.72 billion debt.

The takeover came after efforts made by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, an outfit promoted by a one time Chairman of United Bank for Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, failed to make the debt go away.

EMTS Holding BV, established in the Netherlands, has however been given a grace period which will lapse on June 23 to complete the transfer of 100 percent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks.

The takeover of Etisalat Nigeria was announced by the parent company, Etisalat Group, on Tuesday in a document forwarded to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

The document filed under the reference number, Ho/GCFO/152/87, and dated June 20, 2017 was signed by the Etisalat Group Chief Financial Officer, Serkan Okandan.

The filing stated that efforts made by EMTS to restructure the repayment of the syndicated loan collapsed hence the transfer of ownership.

The document reads: “Further to our announcement dated 12 February, 2017, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC, “Etisalat Group” would like to inform you that Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited “EMTS” (“the company), established in Nigeria and an associate of Etisalat Group with effective ownership of 45% and 25% ordinary and preference shares respectively, defaulted on a facility agreement with a syndicate of Nigerian banks (“EMTS Lenders”)

“Subsequently, discussions between EMTS and the EMTS Lenders did not produce an agreement on a debt restructuring plan.

“Accordingly, the Company received a default and security Enforcement Notice on 9 June 2017 requesting EMTS Holding BV (EMTS BV) established in the Netherlands, and through which Etisalat Group holds its interest in the company) requiring EMTS BV to transfer 100% of its shares in the company to the United Capital Trustees Limited (the Security Trustee”) of the EMTS Lenders by 15 June 2017.

“Subsequently the EMTS Lenders extended the deadline for the share transfer to 5.00 pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017.”

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