Etisalat Group had on Monday announced that it had terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian arm, Etisalat Nigeria and had given three weeks to phase out the brand in the country.
The decision followed a collapsed talk with the 13 banks consortium following the $1.2 billion loan.
Etisalat International Chief Executive, Hatem Dowidar, on Monday said, there was no need for the brand to remain in the country after the loan talks hit the wall.
However, Etisalat Nigeria, in a statement issued three weeks ago, had claimed that it had repaid 42 percent of the loan, leaving an outstanding $574 million.
“As at today, we can categorically state that the outstanding loan sum to the consortium (of banks) stands at $227m and N113bn, a total of about $574m if the naira portion is converted to U.S. Dollars.
“Etisalat continued to service the loan up until February 2017, when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced,” Ibrahim Dikko, vice-president, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs of Etisalat Nigeria had said.
As reported by Reuters, Etisalat Group announced Monday that it was pulling out, as all UAE shareholders of the company had exited and left the board and management of the Nigerian brand.
Mr. Dowidar noted that talks were on-going with Etisalat Nigeria to provide technical support and that the brand name could still be used for another three weeks.
Recall that in June, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), assured the public that the integrity of the network users will be maintained despite the incidence.
Nothing was said about how this will affect the network and its integrity as million of Nigerians are subscribed to the network.
An interim Board of Directors, led by Dr. Joseph Nnanna, a deputy governor of the CBN was announced by Etisalat to take over.
This compromise was reached by the NCC in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had mediated by holding several meetings with the banks, Etisalat, and other stakeholders to find a solution.
However, EMTS, trading as Etisalat Nigeria, said in a statement Monday night that it was aware of news reports regarding Etisalat Group’s withdrawal of the right to the continued use of the Etisalat brand in Nigeria by EMTS.
According to a statement signed by Dikko, EMTS has a valid and subsisting agreement with the Etisalat Group, which entitles EMTS to use the Etisalat brand, notwithstanding the recent changes within the company.
“Indeed, discussions are ongoing between EMTS and Etisalat Group pertaining to the continued use of the brand, and EMTS will issue a formal statement once discussions are concluded.
“The final outcome of the use of the brand in no way affects the operations of the business as our full range of services remain available to our customers,” he said.
Adding that EMTS launched in Nigeria in 2008 with ‘0809ja’ to affirm the “Nigerianness of our origin and sphere of influence. In our nine years of operation, we have remained a prime driver and avid supporter of the Nigerian spirit of excellence, and we will continue to stay true to our ‘Naijacentric identity’.”
“This notion is strongly reflected in our core messages and depicted in major projects and initiatives which we have been known to support. All these initiatives have their foundation embedded in supporting key aspects of the Nigerian fabric: building Nigerian businesses and empowering Nigerians with a focus on the youth.
“Nigeria remains the soul of EMTS’ business and we have made the brand alluring to our teeming subscribers who see a piece of the spirit and character of Nigeria in everything we do.
“EMTS is here to stay and we wish to assure our esteemed customers that our core values of youthfulness, customer-centricity, and innovation will remain the pillars on which we operate. We thank our esteemed customers for their abiding faith in us,” he said.