MTN Nigeria secures $2.15bn loan
Operator plans expansion to counter Bharti’s ambitions for its new African assets
Mobile operator MTN Nigeria has signed loan agreements worth more than $2 billion with 15 Nigerian banks and two foreign banks to fund its expansion.
MTN Nigeria, a division of South Africa's MTN Group, said a consortium of 15 Nigerian banks would provide it with a Naira 250 billion ($1.6 billion) five-year syndicated loan, while Germany's KfW Ipex would provide a $250 million credit export facility for the purchase of equipment from network vendor Ericsson.
Meanwhile, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China agreed to provide $200 million worth of credit for Zain Nigeria to purchase equipment from telecom vendor Huawei Technologies.
The development comes as Zain Nigeria anticipates increasing competition, with India's Bharti Airtel likely to inject investment into Zain Nigeria, which it acquired along with most of Zain's Africa assets.
MTN Nigeria competes with rival mobile operators Globacom, Zain, Etisalat and M-Tel in one of Africa's most competitive mobile markets.
Nigeria, which has a population of some 151 million people, is Africa's biggest telecom market.