| ABUJA, March 11
ABUJA, March 11 Nigeria's financial and telecoms
regulator said it agreed on Friday with local banks to end the
prospect of receivership for mobile operator Etisalat Nigeria,
which has missed a payment on a $1.2 billion loan.
A banking source told Reuters on Wednesday that the Nigerian
affiliate of Abu Dhabi-listed telecoms company Etisalat
had given notice to its Nigerian lenders that it would
miss a payment in February. The two sides have not been able to
agree on terms.
"Friday's meeting succeeded in halting the attempt by
Etisalat's creditors at bringing it under any form of takeover,"
the National Communications Commission (NCC) said in statement.
The central bank and the affected lenders took part in the
meeting in Lagos. Central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele chaired
"Receivership was completely taken off the table in a
meeting that was very productive and constructive," the NCC
It gave no details, but said a follow-up meeting on Thursday
would discuss a restructuring of the loan payment.
"The banks and the mobile network operator agreed to
concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a
resolution," the NCC said.
The NCC also said the regulators will meet with Etisalat
shareholders "anytime soon."
The consortium of 13 banks had asked Etisalat to convert
loans from its parent into equity and inject fresh capital into
its Nigerian affiliate.
Etisalat and Etisalat Nigeria were not immediately available
The NCC had stepped in to avoid a receivership, which it
worries could deter investors to the telecoms sector, while the
central bank wants to avoid a wider debt crisis.
Etisalat is the biggest foreign victim of dollar shortages
in Nigeria. Firms aggressively invested in the West African
nation in the era of high oil prices, but now are struggling to
repay loans or keep operating as the oil producer suffers from a
slump in oil revenues, hitting its currency and dollars
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh, Chijioke Ohuocha and Ulf Laessing;
Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Leslie Adler)