Hello guys. Etisalat would soon be history in the Nigerian telecommunications market.
Telecoms group Etisalat has terminated a management agreement with its Nigerian arm and given the business time to phase out the Etisalat brand in Nigeria, the chief executive of Etisalat International told Reuters on Monday.
Nigerian regulators intervened last week to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed.
Etisalat Nigeria took out the loan with 13 local lenders in 2013 to refinance an existing loan and fund expansion but struggled to repay four years later.
Asked whether Etisalat would consider entering Nigeria again, Dowidar said: “The train has left the station on that one. Being in that market as an investor … are we willing to risk more money compared to the reward for the long-term?”
The CEO said Etisalat had been unsuccessful at converting some of its dollar debt to local Nigerian currency. He also said the group might exit or merge with a local rival in markets where it was not one of the top two players. He did not specify which markets. He said all UAE shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria, including state-owned investment fund Mubadala, had exited the company and left the board and management.
“Etisalat is among the top two in markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and Afghanistan,” he said.
“(Nigerian) lenders may try to continue to operate the company until they find a buyer (or) they may merge the company with the existing players in Nigeria.
“The brand agreement in either of these two scenarios won’t be a long-term thing, so we take out the brand; in the long term Etisalat won’t be in Nigeria.”