Following the demand notice of the recovery of a $1.2b loan it obtained from a group of banks in 2013, Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria has been under pressure. The loan was obtained in a bid to refinance an existing $650m loan to remodernise its network but after four years, the telecoms industry is still struggling to pay.
Reuter on Monday made a report to affirm this assertion:
“Telecoms group Etisalat terminates a management agreement with its Nigerian arm and given the business time to phase out the Etisalat brand in Nigeria, the chief executive of Etisalat Internal told Reuters on Monday”
Reuter reported further of the Nigerian’s intervention to save the telecoms industry from a collapse; the talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2b loan failed. This failure was attributed to the economic downturn leading to dollar shortage on Nigeria’s interbank market, as claimed by Ibrahim Dikko, the vice president for regulatory affairs at Etisalat.
Harem Dowider, the CEO of Etisalat International confirmed the move by stating clearly that the UEA shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria, including state owned investment fund Mubadala, had exited the company, leaving the board and management. However, the telecoms industry would continue using the brand for another three weeks before finally phasing out.
The telecoms company maintains the fourth position according to Nigeria’s telecom regulator with a 14% market share. Its competitors, MTN, Globacom and Airtel have 47%, 20% and 19% respectively.
The CEO stated that it may consider merging with a local rival in the market but did not specify which.
The telecom company will surely be missed if it finally makes its way out. Etisalat is known to be very generous when it comes to gifting subscribers with freebies. Customers have the chance to choose awesome bonuses with up to 350% bonus on recharge on-net calls or 100% bonus on data plans of 5mb and above. Another laudable project is the first Pan-African award which started to celebrate first time writers of published fiction book.
What’s more worrisome? The shortage of dollars plaguing the country due to a plummet in oil prices? Another phase of unemployment about to trail the news? Or perhaps the end of the African Literature Prize?