Etisalat repaid nearly half of loan amount before default – official

Etisalat Nigeria had already repaid $500 million of $1.2 billion in loans owed to banks before it defaulted in February due to a currency devaluation, a senior executive told Reuters on Thursday.

Talks between Etisalat Nigeria and lenders to restructure the $1.2 billion loan agreed in 2013 have failed to produce a deal, forcing the banks to step in this month.

Ibrahim Dikko, vice president for regulatory affairs, said the company currently owed lenders $575 million and talks with lenders were ongoing. The total amount of debt outstanding were $227 million and 113 billion naira ($358.73 mln), he told Reuters in a phone interview.

The loan agreed with 13 local banks in 2013 was a seven-year facility to refinance a $650 million loan and fund expansion of its network. Etisalat Nigeria missed payments in February after sharp falls in the value of the Nigerian naira bloated the loan value, making repayments difficult.