Nigeria’s Telecoms regulator is introducing new checks to guard against future stakeholder bankruptcies

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) seeks to put in place measures to safeguard the financial-health of the country’s telecommunication industry by introducing tougher financial checks on its biggest service providers.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg, NCC Executive Vice-Chairman Umar Garba Danbatta informed that the independent regulatory authority has gathered reports on the financial well-being of the local units of MTN Group Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Globacom Ltd., adding that the reports have revealed “issues that can be addressed.”

In 2017, the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after it failed to pay the remaining $589 million from a $1.2 billion loan it took from a consortium of 13 banks. The lenders seized control of a 45% stake from the primary investor Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat International).

Etisalat’s exit from the country is one of the biggest corporate upheavals in Nigerian history, as Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat Group exited the country, nearly ten years of trying to promote a successful subsidiary in Africa’s largest telecoms market.

Taking a cue from the unfortunate dilemma of Etisalat Nigeria, NCC intends to ensure the survival of the leftover of the company, now known as 9mobile.

“These are all measures we’re putting in place to ensure the survival of 9mobile and prevent a repeat of what happened,” Danbatta said.

Before ceding 9Mobile to its new buyer, NCC made sure the bidders had healthy financial capacity to sustain the embattled company. Two final prospects emerged, Teleology Holdings and Smile who placed bids of $500 million and $300 million.

Teleology Holdings has an asset under management of $11 billion and according to report as been declared the preferred bidder for 9Mobile.