Inspite of reports in the media that majority stakeholders in Etisalat Nigeria, Mubadala Development Company, UAE, may have exited the business, Etisalat Nigeria remains a viable business, stated VP, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, Ibrahim Dikko, in a statement made available to Africa Telecom & IT.
According to Dikko, there is no basis to draw hasty conclusions on the direction ongoing negotiations with Etisalat’s bankers are pointing towards. “Etisalat remains a viable business, having recorded its best financial year in 2016. Parties are keen to ensure that the ongoing discussions and eventual outcome do not affect the day-to-day operations of the business, whether now or after the announcement of our agreement. All parties have continually demonstrated an interest in the continued operations of Etisalat as a business, as it remains the backbone of millions of small business owners, multinationals, government and, indeed, Nigerian subscribers, in general.”
Etisalat Nigeria is not in denial of information in the public space that Mubadala Development Company, the majority shareholder of the company, is exiting the business. Says Dikko: “Whilst it is premature at this stage of the ongoing discussions, to affirm that this is the conclusive option, Etisalat Nigeria considers it pertinent to state that parties to the negotiation are considering a number of options and discussions are at an advanced stage, regarding the syndicated loan agreement with the banks. It will, therefore, be presumptive and in bad faith, to begin to predict the outcome. Discussions have, so far, been quite collaborative and we expect to reach a final resolution next week, by which time, we will be in the position to make a definitive announcement.”
Etisalat Nigeria says negotiations with the consortium of banks, regarding the syndicated loan agreement, signed in 2013, have reached an advanced stage, noting the firm is considering a number of options and is not foreclosing anything at this time.
The telco appeals to its partners in the media to exercise some restraint in speculating the outcome of the ongoing discussions, being held off camera. “We appreciate the tremendous support we have received since inception and count on the continued support of our media partners as we navigate this path and emerge as a stronger business,” it says.
It will be recalled that telecom sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, recently intervened to ensure the telco’s creditors did not take over the affairs of the company, which, in its judgment, is to stave-off unsavoury consequencies of the threatened take-over on the national network.
It is not clear, as at press time, whether Mubadala’s purported exit, is an indication negotiations have stalemated.