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Banks’ takeovers: Fear grips corporate Nigeria


Etisalat on firing line, airlines also affected


By John Eche


With the present cold shoulder being given the corporate business sector by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and other government agencies, palpable fear is sweeping across Corporate Nigeria.

The latest casualty in the process is the telecommunications player, Etisalat, which is on the cusp of a management takeover being initiated by a consortium of banks from which it had secured a hefty N541.8billion loan but which it had reportedly also since defaulted in meeting its debt servicing obligations.

Insider sources within some of the affected banks say that there are themselves acting to ensure that they on their part, can remain afloat even as the effects of the current economic recession continue to be felt all over the public and private sectors of the country.

Indeed, the renewed gale of assault on corporate debtors had begun with AMCON itself moving against Arik Air, dissolving its board, sacking its management and appointing an interim management team to run its operations going forward.

Equally within the aviation industry, there is concern that another similarly high-flying airline may soon face the hammer in the next few weeks.

No word has been heard from Etisalat Nigeria’s UAE parent firm on the current saga but analysts reason that given the financial difficulties that the Nigerian operation has been facing in recent times, Abu Dhabi may have quietly decided to cut its losses in this instance in about the same way that its rival, Bharti Airtel has already commenced a massive divestment from the African continent.



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