The African Finance Corporation has announced that it has approved USD 230 Mn in senior debt to enable Nigeria’s fourth-largest telecoms operator pay its existing debt and champion its long-term growth strategy.
The loan facility will have two tranches, and will help the telco repay historic vendor obligations, finance costs and an interest reserve account. While the funds will also help 9mobile pay towards quick win Capex initiatives, it will use part of the money to honour existing debts and invest in its growth.
According to the telco’s Chief Financial Officer, Philips Oki, the firm will reclaim ever ground lost in the market in the coming months. Since the turn of the year, 9mobile has been on the wrong side of subscriber volume. According to recent data from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the telco dipped to 90.3 million in June.
March this year, the NCC received a complaint pertaining to automatic data renewal from a 9mobile subscriber. After the telecom regulator investigated the issue, it resolved to slam the operator NGN 5 Mn for violating its directives. 9mobile claimed the breach occurred due to previously undetected and isolated failure on its date subscription, a defence nothing which the commission refused to consider.
In another dramatic playout in August, 9mobile alongside Airtel, Nigeria’s third-largest mobile operator, was slammed a fine totalling NGN 136 Mn for the violation of industry regulations.
The NCC said in its 2019 first quarter enforcement report that the network providers disregarded data subscription renewal regulations, policy against wrongful disconnection of an interconnect carrier as well as breaking the Do-Not-Disturb directive.
It’s safe to say that the funding from the AFC could not have come at a better time, even as the company strives to return the multi-award-winning company to the path of growth and profitability through cost efficiency, innovative product development and network efficiency.
Commenting on the approval, the Board Chair, Mr Bayero, expressed happiness that EMTS’ effort to recover previously ceded ground through an innovative growth plan is being supported by a prestigious Pan-African financial institution as the AFC.
“We can only express gratitude to the AFC for approving this loan facility that would not only help our business sustainability but also grow it to serve our teeming and loyal customers in Nigeria better. We have completely reviewed our operational, regulatory, financial and technical architecture to ensure we deliver quality services and this facility would go a long way in giving best in class services to Nigerians,” he said.