9Mobile hit by new crisis as court nullifies order approving interim board

Shareholders warn CBN, others over sale of 9mobile
By Editor

Still engrossed in the complex process of steadying ship and heralding a new chapter anchored on finding a new buyer, 9Mobile has been hit by new crisis as the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, Friday nullified the ex parte order approving the appointment of an interim board for Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS).

EMTS is Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunications service operator, and runs 9Mobile formerly operated as Etisalat.

The nullification followed dismissal of the Preliminary Objection filed by United Capital Trustees Ltd in response to the application by Spectrum Wireless, a shareholder of EMTS.

Spectum’s application was for a nullification of the ex parte order by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court.

Spectrum had claimed that the order was obtained by misrepresentation of facts leading to alienation of its interests in EMTS.

The interim board and executive management of EMTS were constituted in June 2017 but the order approving its reconstitution was given in July.

The development came after Etisalat Group, which held 45 per cent of the shares in Etisalat Nigeria and 25 per cent of the preference shares, had earlier withdrawn its stake from the Nigerian firm over $1.2 billion debt owed 13 Nigerian banks.

Read also: Foreign core investor to buy out Nigerian shareholdings in 7-Up

Following intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), an interim board was constituted for the company after it announced a name change to 9Mobile.

In the new board, Boye Olusanya, former Deputy Managing Director of Celtel, was named its Managing Director/CEO, while Joseph Nnanna, an economist and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was named the chairman of its board.

The inauguration of the board came following concessions reached in meetings held by the CBN, the NCC, the lending banks and Etisalat’s management.

The Interim Board of EMTS had recently received bids from about five bidders in the somewhat dragging sale process of the telecommunication company which was scheduled to be concluded by December 31, 2017, but was recently moved to January 16, 2018.

With this new development, it remains to be seen how the company will manage to navigate through the legal issues with their many fallouts.


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