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There are indications that a consortium of banks may take over Etisalat Nigeria today (Wednesday) following failure by the telecoms company to meet up with debts owed the banks.
Etisalat is Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms operator, with about 21 million subscribers as at January 2017, according to the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). It commenced business in Nigeria in 2009.
According to PREMIUM TIMES the banks - Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank, have since 2015 been involved in a series of clash with the telecom company over a $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) loan.
The loan, which involved a foreign-backed guaranty bond, was for Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.
The company failed to meet its obligation which required the intervention of the NCC, to broker a peaceful resolution among the parties, which made yielded no fruit.
The banks stated that the move to recover the loan was driven by pressure from the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, demanding immediate cut down on the rate of their non-performing loans.
It was further gathered that a senior official of one of the banks, who pleaded anonymity told Etisalat management to request for a bankruptcy status, as an option out of the crisis.
The official explained that the bankruptcy option would require having receivership management appointed by the banks to oversee its operations.
The source however noted that the NCC was not willing for the takeover as it believe the telecom service provider was feasible and willing and able to negotiate its loan servicing.