Etisalat’s Nigerian affiliate is in talks with local banks to renegotiate the terms of a $1.2 billion loan it took out nearly four years ago to expand its network in the country. This comes after missed payments by the company.
Ibrahim Dikko, Vice President for regulatory affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, said Etisalat missed payments due to an economic downturn in Nigeria, a currency devaluation there and dollar shortages on the country’s interbank market.
“We are in discussions with our bankers and have been for quite a while. They have not taken over the business and we are hoping that we can resolve the issue and find a way to renegotiate terms,” Dikko told Reuters.
Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) owns a 40% in its Nigerian affiliate, which accounted for around 3.7% of the group’s revenue in 2013.
Etisalat Nigeria signed a $1.2 billion medium-term facility with 13 Nigerian banks in 2013, which it used to refinance an existing $650 million loan and fund a modernisation of its network.
Dikko said the business performed well last year and it was still in profit at the level of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, while loan repayments had been up to date “until recently”.