9mobile gets $230m from AFC to expand operations in Nigeria
Efforts by the new Board and Management of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), trading as 9mobile, to reposition the company may have started yielding results as the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), has approved a $230 million loan facility to help it attain its long-term growth plans.
Convinced by the initiatives so far taken by the Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero-led Board and management headed by Acting Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet, to return the company to the path of growth and profitability through cost efficiency, innovative product development, and network efficiency, the AFC announced the approval of the loan at the weekend.
In a letter addressed to both Bayero and Beuvelet, the financial institution said, “Africa Finance Corporation is pleased to inform Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services that it has received full Board approval to support the turnaround strategy of EMTS through a $230 million super senior debt investment.”
According to the firm, yesterday in Lagos, the facility is divided into two tranches would, among others, be used to repay historic vendor obligations, finance costs, and an interest reserve account and payment towards quick win capex initiatives.
The Guardian check showed that as of June 2019, 9Mobile currently enjoys 9.19 per cent market share and services 15.9 million customers in Nigeria.
Commenting on the approval, the Board Chair, Alhaji Ado 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.
Ado Bayero further assured of the company’s resolve to continue its aggressive enhancement of network capacity and innovative features to guarantee optimum value to customers. He added that “our turnaround efforts are well and truly underway. We had promised when we took over that we would justify the confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value Nigerians get for using 9mobile. This is part of fulfilling our promise.”
Also commenting on the transaction, 9mobile’s Chief Financial Officer, Phillips Oki said, “The success of this transaction by way of the approval of the Board of Africa Finance Corporation is a sound affirmation of our belief that the fundamentals of the 9mobile business are indeed strong.
It is also an attestation to the fact that the operational restructuring and financial re-engineering we have done since we assumed ownership have launched 9mobile on the path of growth and profitability. With this facility, our subscribers, staff, and vendors should get ready to switch on to better days with 9mobile. We will reclaim every lost ground in the market in the coming months.”
It will be recalled that the new Board led by Alhaji Bayero took over 9mobile in November 2018 following a successful acquisition by Teleology Nigeria Limited.
Other members of the Board include non-executive directors, Asega Aliga, Mohammed Edewor and Winston Ndubueze Udeh; Executive Director, Abdulrahman Ado and Acting Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet.
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