Etisalat leaves Nigeria

Natalie Bannerman
Published on:

The Etisalat Group, parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, has terminated its management agreement with the subsidiary

The on-going controversy surrounding Etisalat Nigeria has hit a new development, with the announcement that its parent company the Etisalat Group has terminated its management agreement with the Nigerian arm and given the company just three weeks to phase out its brand from the country.

The news comes after weeks of talks around Etisalat Nigeria's $1.2billion unpaid loan collapsed, the withdrawal of all UAE shareholders & board members, senior management and the banks moved to take over its shareholding.

Hatem Dowidar, chief executive of Etisalat International said on Monday that there was no need for the brand in Nigeria after the collapse of the loan talks, but that discussions were ongoing with Etisalat Nigeria to provide technical support. No mention of the loan was made.

The news came despite the fact that the company released a statement three weeks ago indicating that the debt was in the process of being re-paid saying: “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.”

Ibrahim Dikko, vice-president of regulatory & corporate affairs at Etisalat Nigeria added: “Etisalat continued to service the loan up until February 2017, when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced.”

Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS) which trades as Etisalat Nigeria responded to the news in a statement signed by Dikko, saying: “EMTS has a valid and subsisting agreement with the Etisalat Group, which entitles EMTS to use the Etisalat brand, notwithstanding the recent changes within the Company. Indeed, discussions are ongoing between EMTS and Etisalat Group pertaining to the continued use of the brand, and EMTS will issue a formal statement once discussions are concluded. The final outcome on the use of the brand in no way affects the operations of the business as our full range of services remain available to our customers.”