Business News in Brief

Regulators Step in to Save Etisalat Nigeria from Collapse

Nigeria's central bank and its telecoms industry regulator have intervened to save the country's fourth largest telecoms firm from collapse after talks with local banks to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed, a regulatory source said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

Etisalat Nigeria is the biggest foreign-owned victim of dollar shortages plaguing the country due to lower oil prices and economic recession, leaving the company struggling to make repayments to lenders and suppliers.

Nigeria Sells Bond at Flat Rate

Nigeria sold a five, 10- and 20-year debt at a flat rate of 16.19 percent at an auction on Wednesday to curtail borrowing costs as inflation declines, traders said on Thursday, according to Reuters report.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) raised a total of 99.26 billion naira ($315.11 million), less than the 140 billion naira it wanted to raise, as it did not want to pay more for the notes.

Delta Enters $20m Oil Palm Production Deal

The Delta Government has signed a $20 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Norsworthy Investment, a private firm, for the cultivation of 3,000 acres of oil palm and processing plant project, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The project which would be sited at Akwukwu-Igbo in Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state, was signed in Asaba on Thursday by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Festus Agas.

Etisalat Repays 42% of Loan

Etisalat has repaid 42 per cent of the debt owed Nigerian banks and not owing the humongous $1.2 billion, as being reported in the media.

The clarification was made by the troubled telecommunications company yesterday.

“As at today, we can categorically state that the outstanding loan sum to the consortium (of banks) stands at $227m and N113bn, a total of about $574m if the naira portion is converted to US Dollars. This in essence means almost half of the original loan of $1.2bn, has been repaid.

Etisalat Nigeria to Change Shareholder Structure After Debt Talks Fail

Etisalat Nigeria has initiated changes to its shareholding structure after talks with lenders to restructure a $1.2 billion debt failed, the company said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

The telecoms firm has been in talks with Nigerian banks to restructure its loan after missing repayments but those discussions failed to produce an agreement, Abu Dhabi listed Etisalat said.

Forte Oil Eyes ₦20b Share Sale

Nigeria's Forte Oil plans a 20 billion naira ($66 mln) share sale to institutional and high net worth investors and has applied for regulatory approval, it said on Monday.

The energy firm said the capital raising will be done as a public offer for shares through a book building process to help price discovery. It has applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Nigerian Stock Exchange for approval.

Nigeria Sells Treasury Bills worth ₦286.8b to Support Currency

Nigeria's central bank on Friday held two auctions to sell treasury bills worth 286.8 billion naira ($939.56 million), traders said, as the regulator moved to tighten liquidity and curb speculation on the local currency.

Traders said the debt sale reduced the level of naira liquidity in the money market and pushed up the overnight interbank lending rate to 15 percent, up from 6.7 percent where it closed the previous day.

Nigeria is battling a currency crisis brought on by low oil prices which tipped its economy into recession and created chronic dollar shortages.

Etisalat Works with Investor Mubadala and Lenders to Resolve Debt Woes

Telecoms company Etisalat Nigeria is working with its lenders and Abu Dhabi state investment fund Mubadala, the second-largest shareholder in the business, to resolve debt woes it said were caused by a devaluation of the naira currency.

Mubadala spokesman Brian Lott told Reuters on Friday that a local media report saying that the fund has pulled out of Etisalat Nigeria was wrong and that several proposals are under discussion. He declined to elaborate on the options being considered but said he will know more next week.

Air Peace Boosts Operation with 13th Aircraft

Nigerian carrier, Air Peace has given its expansion project a push with the arrival in Lagos of one of its newly acquired aircraft.

The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, said in a statement that the aircraft, a Boeing 737-300, touched down at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at about 12.30pm on Friday.

Onyema said it was part of the airline’s plan to expand its fleet to 22 aircraft, adding that it was the 13th aircraft acquired in less than three years of its commercial flight operations.

Fitch Rates Nigeria's USD Diaspora Bonds 'B+(EXP)'

Fitch Ratings has assigned Nigeria's upcoming USD- denominated senior unsecured bonds an expected rating of 'B+(EXP)'.

The assignment of the final rating is contingent on the receipt of final documents materially conforming to information already reviewed.

The expected rating is in line with Nigeria's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'B+'. The Outlook on the IDR is Negative.