At the end of today’s management meeting of the telecom firm, Etisalat Nigeria, in Lagos, 9Mobile was adopted as the new brand name. This is coming in days after the global franchise, Etisalat International ended its management agreement with its Nigerian arm. Last week, Nigerian regulators made attempts to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed.
The decision followed Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat Group) withdrawal of further involvement in the ownership of the Nigerian subsidiary. Until June 15, the United Arab Emirates, UAE, group was a major shareholder in Etisalat Nigeria, along with United Arab Emirates Sovereign Wealth Fund through Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi.
Opting to part ways with the company followed the situation in the wake of the $1.2 billion (N377.4 billion) syndicated loan the telecom firm took in 2013 from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks.
Etisalat Nigeria, Emirates Group disclosed in a filing with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange it had transferred 100 per cent of its shares with EMTS Holding BV, a special purpose vehicle established in Netherlands, to United Capital Trustees Limited, legal trustees of the banks.
However, following the resignation a fortnight ago of its immediate past Chairman, Mr. Bello-Osagie, and last week’s reconstitution of the company’s Board of directors, the issue of the trading name the embattled firm would carry brought fresh headache to its management.
EMTS Vice President Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Ibrahim Dikko, had weighed in with an explanation that the company had a valid and subsisting agreement with its former parent company, to continue using the Etisalat brand regardless of the recent restructuring of the Company.
Mr. Dikko gave a hint as to what the new name of the company could be. He recalled that at the launch of EMTS in Nigeria in 2008, “0809ja” was adopted, to affirm the “Nigerianness” of its origin and the company’s sphere of influence.
All UAE shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria have exited the company and have left the board and management.
Following Thursday’s announcement of the new brand name, all staff of the company nationwide were sent notices of the change of name. The company’s new name is yet to be unveiled officially to the public.