Thursday, 22 June 2017

Banks accuse Etisalat Nigeria of siphoning loans?

This is according to a report by The Nation. The company which is owing several Nigerian banks, also revealed they have no intention of sack any staff.... “All we want is to recover the loans; we cannot write off the loans as being demanded by Etisalat, because the company is viable,” the source stated.

The source said that Etisalat wanted the banks to write off the loan as non-performing, but that was rejected because the company was doing well.

“The actual outstanding on the Etisalat loan is about $500millio (about N165billion). This is in view of the fact that Etisalat has efficiently serviced the $1.2billion loan up until earlier this year when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced. I can confirm to you in confidence that the company has made repayment of over 50 per cent of the original loan so far,” a source said.

At Etisalat’s head office on Banana Island and its annex office at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, both in Lagos, workers went about their duties unhindered.

A senior management team member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the announcement by Emirates Telecommunications Group Company (that is The Etisalat Group) of Abu Dabhi, United Arabs Emirate to pull out of the local arm was not a sign of bankruptcy or insolvency.

”What has effectively happened is a change in ownership and not a receivership, bankruptcy or winding up so operations will continue to run and subscribers can continue to access services on the network as usual,” he said.

He allayed fears of any job lose stating that there were no plans to lay off workers. “The discussions with the banks have been on for a while and Etisalat has met its obligations to staff during this time. So long as the business continues, and from all indication it will, the company will sustain its side of the bargain,” he added.

The senior official also assured that the company’s operations would not be disrupted in any way and that subscribers would continue to enjoy excellent customer experience on its network during and after the transition period.

The $1.2billion loan, a medium-term seven-year facility, was obtained by the telco for the purpose of expanding its network and improving the quality of service. Due to the economic downturn of 2015 and consequently sharp devaluations of the naira which negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan, Etisalat ran into difficulty in its repayment plan. This led the company to request the banks for a loan restructuring, a request which did not go down well with the lenders.

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