9mobile gets $230m loan from AFC to facilitate growth plans

Management of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), trading as 9mobile, has secured $230 million loan facility from Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to help it attain its long-term growth plans.

The telecommunication company made this known in a statement on Sunday, saying that the funds would be channelled to innovative product development and network efficiency for the growth and profitability of the company.

The statement signed by Abdulrahman Ado, executive director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, 9mobile, stated that the company received the approval for the loan from AFC on Friday, August 23.

The AFC is pan-African multilateral development financial institution established to bridge Africa’s infrastructure investment gap through the provision of debt and equity finance, project development, technical and financial advisory services.

In a letter addressed to Alhaji Nasiru Bayero, chairman of the Board of Directors, and Stephane Beuvelet, acting managing director, 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 $230m super-senior debt investment.”

According to 9mobile, the facility divided into two tranches will be used to repay historic vendor obligations, finance costs and an interest reserve account and payment towards quick-win capex initiatives.

Commenting on the approval, Bayero expressed happiness that EMTS’ effort to recover previously ceded ground through an innovative growth plan was being supported by a prestigious Pan-African financial institution.

“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.

Bayero 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, “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, Phillips Oki, 9mobile’s chief financial officer, 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, members of 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.”

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