Etisala strikes $1.2 billion loan deal with Zenith Bank, UBA, 11 others

By The Rainbow

Another Nigerian telephone operator, Etisalat, has struck $12 billion financing deal with i3 Nigerian banks, led by Zenith Band and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB).

Zenith Bank Plc, the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) and 10 other banks have arranged a total of $1.2 billion Medium Term Facility (MTF) for Etisalat Nigeria.

MTN Nigeria had in March  signed a similar syndicated loan deal worth $ billion with a consortium of local and five foreign banks.

Glo also raised raised about $1.25billion in two tranches through a consortium of Nigerian banks.

Other banks involved in the Etisalat deal are First Bank of Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Ecobank, Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank Plc, FSDH Merchant Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria; UBA Trustees is the trustees for the facility.

The loan will span seven years and is in two tranches.

According to Etisalat, it is raising the money to refinance an existing $650 million loan and enhance its mobile infrastructure.

Zenith Bank, the lead arranger and major contributor to the facility,  raised about $245 million in tranche A and would also raise another $30 million in tranche B for the telecommunication company.

Chairman, Etisalat, Mr. Hakeem Belo-Osagie, said the deal was another testament to the integrity of the company as a going business in Nigeria.

'Etisalat Nigeria has grown from strength to strength reaching 15 million subscribers earlier this year. This loan is a testament to the robust strategy of the company and the faith of the banking community. It will serve to further boost the company and the telecommunications sector. It is important to also note the enabling environment created by the Federal and State governments of Nigeria as well as the National Communications Commission,' he said.

Also speaking,  the Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans expressed satisfaction with the level of confidence shown by Nigerian bankers on the telephony company.

He said,  'We are delighted with the continued support and confidence shown by so many banking partners. They have shown great faith in the company and we view that as a sign of their endorsement of Etisalat Nigeria's strategy and execution capabilities. We aim to continue to focus on our network expansion, our investment in 3G, as well as ensuring we offer the uncompromising network quality and customer service our subscribers have come to expect from us.'