After his appointment as the new chief executive of Etisalat Nigeria, Boye Olusanya said the company is focused on making profit.
In an interview with Reuters, Boye Olusanya said “Our mandate is to make sure the business runs as profitably as it can. What is most important now is to … ensure that the business runs and meets its obligations”.
The company has been in the mid of a raging storm after it defaulted in the payment of its loan obligations to 13 local lenders and international banks.
Etisalat is Nigeria’s fourth largest carrier out of four other carriers who are also feeling the impact of NIgeria’s first recession in 20 years. The company was formerly owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company PSJC with 45% stake and Etisalat UAE with 40% stake. The two companies have exited after the repayment negotiations failed.
Boye Olusanya said, “Once we’ve gotten ourselves to where certain decisions are made and the structure and form of the business are formed then maybe we would look at a capital raising structure that would be suitable for the nature of how the business will be run”.
“Obviously if it’s possible to do it tomorrow we will do it, because that enhances the ability of this business to roll-out quickly, to get more subscribers, which is what everybody wants”.
He revealed that “We’re still in negotiations with Etisalat over the use of the brand name”. Earlier this week, Etisalat International, Hatem Dowidar said the company only has about three weeks to phase out the use of the Etisalat brand name and that it has terminated management and technical support with the local unit.
However, Boye’s position was reiterated by a statement issued by the company’s spokesman, Ibrahim Dikko said:
EMTS has a valid and subsisting agreement with the Etisalat Group, which entitles EMTS to use the Etisalat brand, notwithstanding the recent changes within the Company. Indeed, discussions are ongoing between EMTS and Etisalat Group pertaining to the continued use of the brand, and EMTS will issue a formal statement once discussions are concluded. The final outcome on the use of the brand in no way affects the operations of the business as our full range of services remain available to our customers.
EMTS launched in Nigeria in 2008 with “0809ja” to affirm the “Nigerianness” of our origin and sphere of influence. In our 9 years of operation, we have remained a prime driver and avid supporter of the Nigerian spirit of excellence, and we will continue to stay true to our “Naijacentric identity”. This notion is strongly reflected in our core messages and depicted in major projects and initiatives which we have been known to support. All these initiatives have their foundation embedded in supporting key aspects of the Nigerian fabric: building Nigerian businesses and empowering Nigerian’s with a focus on the youth.
Nigeria remains the soul of EMTS’ business and we have made the brand alluring to our teeming subscribers who see a piece of the spirit and character of Nigeria in everything we do. EMTS is here to stay and we wish to assure our esteemed customers that our core values of youthfulness, customer-centricity and innovation will remain the pillars on which we operate.
Analysts who spoke to PageOne.ng said the idea of a name change will be too costly for a company that is still struggling to meet loan obligations with banks and other vendors.
Whichever approach EMTS takes, the company will need to raise fresh funds to stay at float as further cost-cutting measures cannot sustain the company to meet its loan obligations. Analysts predict EMTS would likely negotiate for a future date to change its name and domain property.