Etisalat Nigeria, on Thursday July 13, changed its name after weeks of reported crises.
After so many crucial management meeting concerning the situation of the telecom firm in, 9Mobile telecom was adopted by the company as its new brand name.
On Monday, the chief executive of Etisalat worldwide, Hatem Dowidar, said ”the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) has directed Etisalat Nigeria to stop using its brand name within the next three weeks”. ETC, the largest shareholder in the firm, had since terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian arm.The implication of the directive is that the new management has to decide within the next 21 days on the options , which are either an outright sale of the telecom company or merger with an existing telecom operator in the country.
Although ETC is yet to officially make the name change known to the public, Etisalat Nigeria had said it would soon change to a new brand identity that would reflect its new aspirations and philosophy.
The immediate decision to change its brand name was due to the three weeks ultimatum that was given by ETC to phase out the brand name in the country. It was also discussed that the necessary arrangements were ongoing with its former Nigerian subsidiary to provide support.
ETC relinquished its shares in Etisalat Nigeria last month, following its inability to repay the $1.2 billion loan it took from 13 local banks in 2013 for network expansion and upgrade. But even as Etisalat Nigeria moves forward with a new brand identity, its rescue has put its lenders in a quandary as they prepare for half-year results due this month. Nigerian regulators intervened last week to help save Etisalat Nigeria, the country’s fourth-largest mobile telecom operator, from collapse and prevent lenders from placing the telecoms firm in receivership, which resulted to a board and management change.
Banks involved in the loan deal include: GT Bank, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank. Results are due from this month.
Etisalat Nigeria’s new chief executive, Boye Olusanya, has said he was focused on getting the telcom back on track to make profit, while working on the paperwork to eventually raise new capital.