Etisalat Nigeria in talks over missed payment on US$1.2bn loan

Etisalat1The Nigeria affiliate of the Abu-Dhabi telecoms company Etisalat are in conversation with local banks to renegotiate the terms of a US$1.2bn loan that it took out in 2013 after missing a payment 

According to Ibrahim Dikko, the vice president for regulatory affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, the company missed the payment due to an economic downturn in Nigeria, the currency devaluation and the dollar shortages on the country's interbank market. 

"We are in discussions with our bankers and have been for quite a while. They have not taken over the business and we are hoping that we can resolve the issue and find a way to renegotiate terms," Dikko told Reuters in an interview.

The Emirates Telecommunications groups, otherwise known as Etisalat, owns a 40 per cent stake its Nigerian affiliate. Etisalat Nigeria accounted for 3.7 per cent of the group's revenue in 2013. 

The Nigerian affiliate signed a US$1.2bn medium-term loan with 13 Nigerian banks four years ago, which is used to refinance an existing US$650mn loan and fund a modernisation of its network. 

According to Dikko, Etisalat Nigeria had kept up to date with its repayments 'until recently.' He said that the company was now looking at 'all the options', which, according to the vice president, could include converting the loan in naira. However, nothing has been decided as of yet. 

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