I think these period should be regarded as bad times for the Nigerian billionaire, Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuja, Jr as mounting telecommunications debts suggests coupled with Globacom’s expulsion from Benin Republic
With millions of dollars in unpaid outstanding telecommunication fees due to the Federal government of Nigeria, Globacom (Glo), which is individually owned by the businessman, clearly suggests that there is no money anywhere to acquire 9 mobile (formerly Etisalat).
Globacom was among the listed companies to take over the embattled 9mobile network. The list comprises of Glo, Airtel, Smile Communications, Helios, and Teleology Holdings Limited.
The deadline for submissions of binding offers was slated for January 16, 2018 after an initial extension was made at the instance of the Interim Board of 9mobile. The sale process is being managed by Barclays Africa.
Cause Of Globacom’s Debt
A breakdown of Globacom’s indebtedness to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which tellforceblog exclusively obtained shows that the company is yet to pay $282 million dollars for its GSM license renewal fees. Glo’s license, which is renewable every 10 years, expired last year.
Globacom has also been unable to pay over N1.4bn owed the NCC in outstanding fees for the frequency spectrum license that it holds. The fees have been due since November 2017, according to checks at the NCC.
How Adenuga plans to raise at least $1bn to acquire 9mobile, which owes a consortium of Nigerian banks about $1.2bn in loans, with its crippling indebtedness to government remains a façade according to an insider.
Globacom’s financial troubles have been mounting for a while according to sources familiar with the company’s operations. The company was tossed out of Benin Republic in December after it failed to pay up to renew its operational license. It had more than 1.6 million subscribers as at 2015, according to information on the website of Autorite De Regulation Des Communications Électroniques Et De La Poste (ARCEP)-Benin, the regulator in the border country.
Globacom holds Nigeria’s second National Operator license and was able to fund the deployment of fixed land lines as stipulated under the terms of the license due to cash constrains.
Adenuga is not a stranger to controversies. In 2001, his first attempt to acquire a GSM license under his investment vehicle, Communications Investments Limited (CIL) was a complete disaster, costing him to lose his bid deposit of $20m due to his inability to pay the $265m license fees within the timeline set by the government during Nigeria’s first open GSM license auction.
Subscriber statistics from the NCC as at June 2017 places Globacom with about 37m subscribers as the second biggest operator, leaving only MTN in front with 58m, and followed by Airtel and 9mobile with about 34 million and 19 million respectiviely.
NCC Dismisses False Report On 9mobile Acquisition
The NCC in a recent statement explaining how the winning bid for 9mobile will be announced after dismissing some news reports that Globacom had been chosen as buyer for 9mobile, said the winner will be announced after Barclays has reviewed the bids and made “recommendations to the 9Mobile Interim Board thereafter.”
“The NCC and CBN will be duly notified once the 9Mobile Interim Board accepts Barclays’ recommendations and a winning bid is determined in accordance with the terms of the exercise.
“The winner will now apply to NCC in order to commence the processes for securing the regulatory approvals from the Board of the NCC necessary to give full effect to the transfer.”