On the sidelines of yesterday’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele says Etisalat Nigeria will have a new investor in a few months from now. Emefiele also shed light on why both the CBN and Nigerian Communications Commission had to intervene in the operations of the company. The move was in order to safeguard the jobs of the 4000 workers and other parties dependent on the company.
The story so far
A consortium of banks that had loaned Etisalat Nigeria $1.2 billion had threatened to take over the firm after it defaulted. The firm blamed its default on the massive depreciation of the Naira that occurred last year. Etisalat of the UAE, which holds a 45% stake in the company abruptly withdrew from the company. A management and technical arrangement between both firm was severed, hence the change in name to 9mobile.
Current state of the company
Contrary to expectations of several analysts, Etisalat Nigeria has not witnessed a significant loss of market share since the intervention by the two regulatory bodies. The company had a revenue of N16 billion in June. Citigroup and Standard Bank have also been appointed as advisers to the transaction, according to media reports. News had broken earlier in the week, that BUA Group, Virgin Mobile of the UK, and Vodafone where front runners in acquiring the stake hitherto held by Etisalat of the UAE.
What this means for the company
9mobile will be able to make long term plans with the entrance of a new investor. The telecoms industry is one that is intensely competitive, constantly innovating. The company cannot continue to be at a standstill. Another rebranding exercise may occour, as the new investor may decide to change the name of the company.