First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) has said the Nigerian banks which took over 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, are stabilizing the telecommunication company before looking for new investors to buy into the company.
Quoting First Bank, Reuters said the country’s fourth largest telecoms group will keep stability until they can find new investors, adding that there is 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,” a bank official said on an analysts’ call.
Another lender, FCMB, said on Tuesday lenders had agreed to extend a $1.2 billion loan which the mobile operator took out four years ago but struggled to repay due to a currency crisis and a recession in Nigeria. Over the past few months, Etisalat Nigeria has been in the news for its inability to repay the $1.2 billion loan, taken from a consortium of 13 banks. The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had intervened in the debt crisis to ensure that the company which employs over 4,000 Nigerians survived but their efforts did not yield the desired result. A new board has been named, and a transition of ownership has happened, while the Telco has gone on with its normal services to its subscribers.