The embattled Etisalat Nigeria on Thursday rallied to move away from the shadows of its troubles by taking a new brand name.
At end of a crucial management meeting of the telecom firm in Lagos, 9Mobile was unanimously adopted by the company as its new brand name.
Last Monday, the chief executive of Etisalat International, Hatem Dowidar, said Etisalat Group would, in the next three weeks, phase out the brand name in Nigeria.
The decision followed Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat Group) withdrawal of further involvement in the ownership of the Nigerian subsidiary.
Until June 15, the United Arab Emirates, UAE, group was a major shareholder in Etisalat Nigeria, along with United Arab Emirates Sovereign Wealth Fund through Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi.
The two affiliates controlled a combined 85 per cent equity in the telecom firm, with Myacinth holding 15 per cent stake through Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS Holding BV, owned by former United Bank for Africa, UBA, Chairman, Hakeem Bello-Osagie.
Opting to part ways with the company followed the crisis in the wake of the $1.2 billion (N377.4 billion) syndicated loan the telecom firm took in 2013 from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks.
Etisalat Nigeria, Emirates Group disclosed in a filing with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange it had transferred 100 per cent of its shares with EMTS Holding BV, a special purpose vehicle established in Netherlands, to United Capital Trustees Limited, legal trustees of the banks.
However, following the resignation a fortnight ago of its immediate past Chairman, Mr. Bello-Osagie, and last week’s reconstitution of the company’s Board of directors, the issue of the trading name the embattled firm would carry brought fresh headache to its management.
EMTS Vice President Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Ibrahim Dikko, had weighed in with an explanation that the company had a valid and subsisting agreement with its former parent company, to continue using the Etisalat brand regardless of the recent restructuring of the Company.
Mr. Dikko gave a hint as to what the new name of the company could be. He recalled that at the launch of EMTS in Nigeria in 2008, “0809ja” was adopted, to affirm the “Nigerianness” of its origin and the company’s sphere of influence.
Following Thursday’s announcement of the new brand name, PREMIUM TIMES learnt all staff of the company nationwide were sent notices of the change of name. The company’s new name is yet to be unveiled officially to the public.
Early this week, Mr. Dikko said the new brand name would not affect the company’s operations.
New chief executive, Boye Olusanya said the new management was mandated to ensure the business was run as profitable venture.
“What is most important now is to ensure the business runs and meets its obligations. We will focuss on getting the company back on track as soon as possible,” he said.