• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Etisalat signs $1.2bn loan with consortium of 13 local banks

businessday-icon

United Arab Emirates (UAE) owned telecommunications firm, Etisalat Nigeria, on Tuesday signed a US$1.2 billion medium term syndicated loan facility with 13 Nigerian banks. According to Steve Evans, chief executive officer of the company, it intends to use the proceeds to refinance the existing commercial medium term debt of US$650 million and continue its network deployment across Nigeria.

Evans said Etisalat would also continue to roll out innovative products and services, to meet the growing needs and demands of its over 15 million mobile subscribers.

The facility includes both naira and US dollar tranches from a consortium of Nigerian banks, namely: Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, United Bank of Africa, Fidelity Bank, and Access Bank. Others are Ecobank, Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank, FSDH Merchant Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Lagos on Tuesday, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, chairman, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (EMTS), said the loan is yet another critical step in the telecoms company’s development.

“Etisalat Nigeria has grown from strength to strength, reaching 15 million subscribers earlier this year. This loan is a testament to the robust strategy of the company and the faith of the banking community on the company. It will serve to further boost the company and the telecommunications sector”, Bello said.

He observed that the enabling

environment created by the Federal and State governments of Nigeria, as well as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), was responsible for the astronomical growth recorded in the telecoms market.

In this process, Etisalat Nigeria has benefitted from the experience and support of its pioneer shareholders; Etisalat Group, Mubadala and Myacynth.

Commenting on the transaction, Evans said, “We are delighted with the continued support and confidence shown by so many banking partners. They have shown great faith in the company since launch and we view that as a sign of their endorsement of Etisalat Nigeria’s strategy and execution capabilities.

We aim to continue to focus on our network expansion, our investment in 3G, as well as ensuring we offer the uncompromising network quality and customer service our subscribers have come to expect from us.”

Speaking in the same vein, Andrew Kemp, chief finance officer, Etisalat Nigeria, said: “The company is further encouraged not only by the steadfast support of the eight banks that have been a part of our original consortium, but also by the addition of new partner banks. This truly represents a vote of confidence in our results thus far and our plans for expansion. We also wish to thank all the advisers in this transaction, namely Citi, FBN Capital, Aelex, Norton Rose and Banwo & Ighodalo.”