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A consortium of banks, led by Access Bank PLC and other Nigerian and foreign banks, has taken over the management of Etisalat Nigeria, effective June 15.

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The takeover followed the collapse of the effort by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, promoted by-one time Chairman, United Bank for Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, to reach agreement with the banks on debt restructuring plan in the protracted $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) debt impasse.

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However, EMTS Holding BV, established in the Netherlands, has up to June 23 to complete the transfer of 100% of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks.

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Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover on Tuesday in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

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The loan, which involved a foreign-backed guaranty bond, was for the mobile telephone operator to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.

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Unable to meet its debt servicing obligations agreed since 2016, the consortium, prodded by their foreign partners, threatened to take over the company and its assets across the country. Crdt: PremiumTimes 

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