By Hamisu Muhammad
￼￼￼￼Etisalat Nigeria says it has cleared almost half of the $1.2 billion loan it collected from a consortium of 13 banks.
A statement from the company signed by the Vice President, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, Ibrahim Dikko, said contrary to widely reported misrepresentations about Etisalat Nigeria’s debt obligation to the consortium of 13 banks, it has become pertinent to set the records straight.
Prior to this time, Etisalat had in fact consistently and conscientiously met up with its payment obligations, he said.
“As at today, we can categorically state that the outstanding loan sum to the consortium stands at $227m and N113bn, a total of about $574m if the naira portion is converted to US dollars. This in essence means almost half of the original loan of $1.2bn, has been repaid,” the vice president said.
Dikko said Etisalat continued to service the loan up until February 2017 when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced.
Talks by the company to restructure the loan with the banks recently failed, leaving the company with the only option of restructuring its shareholding to allow the banks take stake in the business.
Dikko said media reports that the management of Etisalat Nigeria is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), following a petition to “the Federal Government asking that Etisalat be investigated” on how the funds from the syndicated loans were utilized, are false.
Meanwhile, a UK-based investment firm, Exotix Capital, said the impact of the medium-term seven-year facility secured by Etisalat Nigeria from the consortium of 13 banks is manageable.
The firm, in a research report entitled, ‘Nigeria Banks’, released yesterday, said the impact of the $1.2bn syndicate loan out of which about 42 per cent ($504m) has been repaid, was “modest”.
“We estimate a modest impact on banks. At a headline level, loans to Etisalat Nigeria represent 1.9% of aggregate bank loans. Likewise on our sensitivity analysis, the Etisalat loans would on average have a -12%, -2% and -0.3bp impact on our FY17f net profit, equity and capital adequacy ratios for the banks, respectively.
“We believe the banks should easily be able to absorb a shock of this magnitude,” Head of Equities Financials Research, Rahul Shah, and Equity Research Analyst, Jumai Mohammed, stated