Etisalat Not Under Probe, 42% of Original Loan Repaid

Etisalat Not Under Investigation, 42% of Original Loan Repaid
Lagos, Nigeria, 22nd June 2017:
The attention of Etisalat Nigeria has been
drawn to 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.
Etisalat wishes to categorically affirm for the avoidance of doubt that
the reports are patently false and most unfortunate considering the damage
such misleading information can have not only on our business, but indeed
on the telecommunications industry and the country as a whole. A simple
interrogation of the rigorous process for securing a syndicated loan from
a consortium of reputable banks would have exposed the truth to the
original writer of this story and other media channels who have
subsequently re-circulated the falsehood without interrogation or
Concerned parties have access to our books and do not require an
investigation into how the loan sum was utilized. All of the
infrastructure investment and services for which the loan was secured,
were paid through our banks and these are verifiable.
It is indeed crucial for the media to correctly inform the general public
by providing the needful macro-economic context around which the
challenges we encountered with meeting up with the loan obligation
occurred. It would be recalled that the $1.2bn loan, a medium-term
seven-year facility, was obtained by Etisalat Nigeria for the purpose of
expanding its network and improving the quality of service on its network.
The economic downturn of 2015 and sharp devaluations of the naira
negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan by driving up the loan
value, thus prompting Etisalat to request a loan restructuring from the
consortium of banks.
Contrary to the 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.
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. Etisalat continued
to service the loan up until February 2017, when discussions with the
banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced.
We hereby appeal to our media partners to continue to uphold the ethics of
the profession by exercising some restraint particularly in the
publication of such misleading and damaging information. We have been
accessible and remain available to the media to clarify or verify
information when required.
                            –    End –
Ibrahim Dikko
VP, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs
Etisalat Nigeria
Israel Opayemi
MD/Chief Strategist
c: +2348188077777
Twitter:  @iopayemi
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