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Banks to stabilise Nigeria's 9mobile pending new investment

By , ITWeb
Nigeria , 04 Aug 2017

Banks to stabilise Nigeria's 9mobile pending new investment

Nigerian banks that facilitated a US$1.2 billion to mobile operator 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, will try to stabilise the company until it can find new investors.

As reported by Vanguard, managing director of FirstBank, Adesola Adeduntan, said there was no need to impair loans made to the company because of its cash flows.

"On the part of lenders, we are trying to reposition the company till we find new investors. With the level of cash flow, we believe there will be no need for impairment," he said.

According to Daily Post, Etisalat Nigeria took out a US$1.2 billion loan four years ago from 13 local banks to refinance existing debt and expand its mobile network, but it struggled to repay due to a currency crisis and a recession in Nigeria.

"It will be recalled that Nigerian regulators stepped in last month to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse and prevent lenders placing the country's fourth biggest telecoms group into receivership, prompting a board, management and name change," notes Vanguard.

In July 2017, Etisalat Nigeria formerly announced 9mobile as its new name.

Vanguard says the local banks, which participated in the loan, many of which are reporting first-half results, have been trying to work out the value of 9mobile before deciding whether to impair the loan or wait until the company finds new investors.

Banks involved in the loan deal include Zenith Bank, GTBank, FirstBank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank. GTBank with $138 million in outstanding loans to 9mobile and Access Bank with $131 million are among the most exposed.

The telecoms group is reported to have asked Citigroup and Standard Bank to find an investor to buy into the firm while three companies have shown interest, according to a banking source close to the deal.

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