$1b loan: CBN, NCC launch rescue mission for Etisalat
A rescue mission was launched yesterday for troubled mobile giant Etisalat.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) resolved to intervene in the over $1billion loan repayment issue between the telco and its local creditors.
According to the NCC, the decision was taken yesterday afternoon after a meeting in Abuja between the NCC Executive Vice Chairman Prof. Umar Danbatta and CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele.
NCC spokesman Tony Ojobo, in a short statement, said the meeting at the Central Bank Headquarters, Abuja was convened by the financial sector regulator at the instance of the NCC, the telecom regulator, to stave off the attempt by banks to take over Etisalat.
“At the end of the meeting, the CBN agreed to invite Etisalat management and the banks to a meeting tomorrow (today), towards finding an amicable resolution.
“The NCC, as a regulator of the telecom industry had moved quickly to intervene earlier in the week by reaching out to the CBN convinced of the negative impact such a bank take over will have on the industry.
“NCC was worried about the fate of the over 20 million Etisalat subscribers and the wrong signals this may send to potential investors in the telecom industry,” Ojobo said.
Access Bank yesterday said the telco was owing it N40 billion ($131 million).
The lender’s Chief Executive, Herbert Wigwe said the loan talks were triggered 10-days ago when the company asked lenders to “stand still” on the loan for it to review its operations.
He also said Etisalat Nigeria’s parent, Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat) had converted a loan to the Nigerian company into shares to free up cashflows and was being asked to inject more equity capital.
“Banks are saying we would need an equity injection or commitment to support the business. That is being discussed,” he told an analysts’ call when asked about Access Bank’s loan book.
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