By Emma Okonji
Etisalat Nigeria has reaffirmed that its discussion with the 13 local banks that loaned it $1.2 billion for its network expansion in 2013, was ongoing. The telecoms company said such negotiations would soon be concluded.Â
Etisalat gave the reassurance while reacting to news reports that Mubadala Development Company, the majority shareholder of Etisalat Nigeria was exiting the business.Â
Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs for Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, who gave the assurance in a statement, said: “Whilst it is premature at this stage of the ongoing discussions to affirm that this is the conclusive option, Etisalat Nigeria considers it pertinent to state that parties to the negotiation are considering a number of options and discussions are at an advanced stage regarding the syndicated loan agreement with the banks.Â
“It will therefore be presumptive and in bad faith to begin to predict the outcome. Discussions have so far been quite collaborative and we expect to reach a final resolution next week, by which time we will be in the position to make a definitive announcement.
â€œEtisalat Nigeria can confirm that negotiations with the consortium of banks regarding the syndicated loan agreement signed in 2013 have reached an advanced stage. As noted in an earlier statement, we are considering a number of options and are not taking anything off the table at this time.Â
â€œEtisalat remains a viable business, having recorded its best financial year in 2016. Parties are keen to ensure that the ongoing discussions and eventual outcome do not affect the day to day operations of the business whether now or after the announcement of our agreement. All parties have continually demonstrated an interest in the continued operations of Etisalat as a business as it remains the backbone of millions of small business owners; multinationals, government and indeed Nigerian subscribers in general, according to a statement released by Etisalat.
Dikko said Etisalat would continue to appeal to its partners in the media to exercise some restraint in speculating the outcome of the ongoing discussions being held behind closed doors.Â
“We appreciate the tremendous support we have received since inception and count on the continued support of our media partners as we navigate this path and emerge as a stronger business”, Dikko said.