The Nigerian operation of the South African telephony giant MTN on Wednesday signed a seven-year N200 billion medium term loan agreement with a consortium of 12 banks, which it said would deepen its investments in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr Ferdi Moolman, at the agreement signing ceremony in Lagos, named FBN Quest the acting facility agent.
He said the completion of the agreement projects MTN’s commitment to and confidence in Nigeria and the strength of its strategic collaboration with local financial institutions.
Moolman the loan would help the operator to deepen and broaden the provision of ICT services in Nigeria.
He said, “The signing of this loan facility is a major landmark in our expansion programme in which we are making significant investment.
“The facility will enable us evolve the network to deliver convergent and superior quality, drive voice capacity expansion and data service penetration.
“It will help us maintain optimal capital structure and funding level that supports growth and expansion.
“It will also make it possible for people to connect to each other and the world, find and share information and ideas, create and access new digital services and reimagine old services.
“This partnership puts in place infrastructure that empowers commerce, industry and the provision of public services,’’ the MTN chief said.
The facility, he said, was structured with a two-year moratorium and a five-year repayment plan denominated in naira.
Moolman named the syndicate banks as Citibank of Nigeria Ltd., Diamond Bank Plc., Ecobank Nigeria Plc., Fidelity Bank Plc., First Bank of Nigeria Plc. and First City Monument Bank Ltd.
Other banks are: FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd., Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria Ltd., Standard Chartered Bank Plc., Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc., United Bank for Africa Plc. and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Also speaking, Mr Remi Oni, Executive Director, Corporate Banking of First Bank, said that the signing ceremony showed the conclusion of a thoughtful journey for every bank that was involved.
“The sum committed shows the value of the services of MTN, and First Bank is committed to supporting its business.
“Everybody that has come into this loan facility deal is excited because it is a deal that will impact the public.
Mr Emeka Okonkwo, Executive Director, Union Bank, said the bank’s partnership with MTN was more than just rendering financial services.
According to Okonkwo, looking back from where MTN is coming from, there is the need to appreciate the impact MTN has made in the industry.
“As the industry revolves, MTN will play a crucial part and that is why we are going into this partnership with them,’’ he said.
Mr Adekunle Awobodu, Chief Financial Officer, Finance Division of MTN, said Nigeria’s journey from voice to data required capital investment and as such the loan would be tailored towards that.
“This movement requires expensive capital investment which the loan facility will aid. It will equally help the modernisation of the network to position it well.
“The country also wants to expand its broadband penetration and the loan facility providing the needed equipment will see to that.
“MTN’s focus on improving customer experience with good available networks will be enhanced with investment in the equipment needed,’’ Awobodu said.