Etisalat in Trouble over unpaid debt of N541.8 billion to three Nigerian Banks
Access Bank, Zenith Bank and Guaranty Trust bank are set to take over Etisalat today following failed truce negotiations brokered by the NCC. The three banks have been in a running battle with the mobile telephone operator over a loan facility totalling $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) obtained in 2015.
The Loan which was backed by a foreign guaranteed bond was given to Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.
However, Etisalat has failed to meet its loan servicing schedule agreed in 2016 with the three banks, prodded by their foreign partners, the banks reported Etisalat to the banking sector regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and its communications sector counterpart, the NCC.
Etisalat in it’s defence said that their inability to meet their obligations was because of the current economic recession in the country. The banks themselves, where also under pressure by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to reduce their number of non performing loans.
According to reporting sourced from PREMIUM TIMES , ‘one of the options currently on the table to resolve this crisis was for Etisalat to request for bankruptcy status. As the bankruptcy option would require having receivership management appointed by the banks to oversee its operations’.
But, the regulator NCC appears not to be favourably disposed to the takeover proposal of Etisalat by the three Banks, as they believe Etisalat is a viable business concern, that is willing and able to negotiate loan servicing..
The NCC on Tuesday, March 7, approved the takeover with effect from March 8.”