NCC and CBN intervene in the receivership of Etisalat

Etisalat Nigeria staved off receivership from bank consortium

Regulators of the telecoms and banking sector say they have managed to stave off receivership of Etisalat Nigeria, over owed a group of local banks.

The telecoms mobile operator, which holds the fourth position in the industry, came under a looming threat of takeover by the bank consortium over its alleged debt re-payment failure.

Following the seizure by the financial institutions, the firm faced a possible receivership, which is a type of corporate bankruptcy in which the receiver is appointed by courts or creditors to administer the operations of the company.

However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), say they have managed to mediate in the process to absolve the mobile phone company from its dissolution by its creditors.

This was sequential to a crucial meeting held on Friday, 7th April at the CBN office in Lagos between the creditor banks and management of Etisalat Nigeria, which was chaired by Godwin Emiefele, Governor of CBN.

“Friday’s meeting succeeded in barring the attempt by Etisalat’s creditors at bringing it under any form of takeover. Receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive”, Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs NCC, says in a statement during the meeting”

Accordingly, the banks and the mobile operator resolved to take on tangent actions that will bring them close to a resolution.

Also, Godwin Emiefele was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a speedy resolution.

On its part, the mobile network operator equally made it clear that it had to safeguard the interests of its 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also aid the telecoms industry in preventing potential investors from developing cold feet, according to reports from NCC.

Ojobo also mentioned that a deal was reached for both parties to meet next Thursday to “agree on a payment restructuring method going forward”.

Details of the deals reached between both parties were not disclosed but Ojobo says that the CBN and NCC were able to regain Etisalat’s stand in continuing its operational activities.

It should be recalled that in Nigeria,

“the telecommunications firm trades as Etisalat Nigeria promoted by Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS), a private Nigerian company in partnership with Mubadala Development Company and Etisalat of UAE. The promoters of the network mobile operator acquired the Unified Access license from the Federal Government of Nigeria in January 2007, which includes a mobile license and spectrum in the GSM 1800 and 900 MHZ brands. After that, Etisalat acquired A 40% stake in EMTS and is now the operator of the license.”