A consortium of banks finally pulled the plug Tuesday on Etisalat Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s fourth biggest mobile phone company, following protracted negotiations over an outstanding $1.2 billion debt dating back to 2013.
But amid the confusion over the exposure of Nigerian banks in the syndicated loan transaction, it has emerged that Guaranty Trust Bank appears to have the highest exposure at $138 million, according to information now available to Businessamlive.
With an odd 13 representing the number of Nigerian banks believed to be involved, for which negotiations hit a brick wall over the last few days, Access Bank, which now occupies the commanding role in the banks takeover of the telco as the lead arranger of the facility, is believed to be owed $131 million, it has also emerged.
The closest bank to GTB and Access in terms of what is owed it is Fidelity, with an exposure of $56 million. At a distant fourth position is South African Standard Bank-controlled Stanbic, which has an exposure of $24 million.
The failure to reach a negotiated agreement on how Etisalat could repay the loan it was owing the bank forced Etisalat UAE to announce Tuesday its official disengagement from Nigeria. The Middle East company, along with Mubadala, another company from that region, owned 70 percent of Etisalat Nigeria stakes with 30 percent owned by a group of Nigerian investors that held their stakes under Emerging Markets Telecoms (EMTS).
The $1.2 billion loan had been secured in 2013 with $650 million of the total money used for the purpose of refinancing existing obligations at the time and $350 million used for an expansion programme of its network.
Analysts at Nairametrics, a research company based in Lagos, said Tuesday, that with the banks calling their collateral, they have moved in to seize assets of Etisalat, including its shares.
Businessamlive has also learnt that a crucial resolution meeting has already been scheduled to hold tomorrow, Wednesday, that will have in attendance telecommunication industry regulator, the Nigerian CommunicationsCommission (NCC), banking industry regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the consortium of lending banks, to discuss the debt situation.
Other banks with their exposures in the debt situation include FCMB – $15 million; Union Bank – N3.9 billion, Zenith Bank (not known yet); First Bank (not known yet); UBA (not known yet); Ecobank (not known yet); Keystone Bank (not known yet); FSDH (not known yet) and Mainstreet Bank (not known yet).
Frontpage September 4, 2019