LAGOS/ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Etisalat has been instructed to transfer its 45 percent stake in Etisalat Nigeria to a loan trustee after debt restructuring talks with lenders failed, the Abu Dhabi telecoms company said on Tuesday.
Etisalat Nigeria had been in talks with Nigerian banks to restructure a $1.2 billion loan after missing repayments but those discussions failed to produce an agreement on restructuring the debt, Etisalat said in a statement.
Nigeria’s financial system, hobbled by lower oil prices and economic recession, has suffered shortages in dollars, making it difficult for companies to make the loan repayments.
Etisalat said its had been notified to transfer its stake by June 23. It said the stake had a carrying value of zero on its books.
An Etisalat Nigeria spokesman said the company was still in discussions with lenders to find a “non-disruptive” solution.
Etisalat said its financial exposure to Etisalat Nigeria was related to operational services worth 191 million UAE dirhams ($52 million) and that discussions were ongoing with lenders regarding the use of the Etisalat brand.
($1 = 3.6729 UAE dirham)
Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Jason Neely