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Etisalat makes an exit from Nigeria

Nigerian lenders might choose to operate the company or merge it with an existing player

Etisalat makes an exit from Nigeria
Etisalat International CEO Hatem Dowidar

Etisalat group has finally terminated the management contract with its Nigerian arm, as confirmed by Reuters reports.

All UAE shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria, including state-owned investment fund Mubadala, have exited the company and left the board and management, according to CEO of Etisalat International Hatem Dowidar.

Nigerian regulators had intervened last week to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2bn loan failed. 

In his interview with Reuters, Dowidar said that discussions were ongoing with Etisalat Nigeria to provide technical support, adding that it could continue to use the brand for another three-weeks before phasing it out. "There's a new board and we are not part of that company. We have sent our termination letter for the management agreement," he added. 

Upon being asked if Etisalat would consider entering Nigeria again, Dowidar said: "The train has left the station on that one. Being in that market as an investor ... are we willing to risk more money compared to the reward for the long-term. " 

The CEO said Etisalat had been unsuccessful at converting some of its dollar debt to local Nigerian currency. He also said the group might exit or merge with a local rival in markets where it was not one of the top two players. However, he did not specify which markets.

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