Etisalat Closes Shop in Nigeria

Etisalat is divesting from Nigeria according to latest media reports. The Abu Dhabi owned telecommunications networks is said to have terminated its management agreement with the Nigerian arm and has thus given Etisalat Nigeria only three weeks to phase out the brand in the country.

Hatem Dowidar, the CEO of Etisalat International, said today that there was no need for the brand to continue in the West African country after the collapse of the $1.2 billion loan talks. The talks collapsed despite interventions from Nigerian regulators last week to save Etisalat Nigeria.

“There’s a new board and we are not part of that company. We have sent our termination letter for the management agreement,” he told Reuters.

In a statement issued over 3 weeks ago, Etisalat Nigeria said;

“As at today, we can categorically state that the outstanding loan sum to the consortium(of banks) stands at $227m and N113bn, a total of about $574m if the naira portion is converted to US Dollars. This in essence means almost half of the original loan of $1.2bn, has been repaid.

“Etisalat continued to service the loan up until February 2017, when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced,” Ibrahim Dikko, vice-president, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs of Etisalat Nigeria said.

Discussions are ongoing with Etisalat Nigeria to provide technical support, while the local arm looks to rebrand in the three week phase out period.

Etisalat is among the top two in markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and Afghanistan, he said.

“(Nigerian) lenders may try to continue to operate the company until they find a buyer (or) they may merge the company with the existing players in Nigeria, he said, adding that it was tough to say what lenders would do.

“The brand agreement in either of these two scenarios won’t be a long-term thing, so we take out the brand; in the long term Etisalat won’t be in Nigeria.” Reports Reuters