Zantel defaults of USD96m loan, sources claim

29 May 2014

Tanzania telecoms operator Zanzibar Telecommunication (Zantel) is facing a bank demand for the immediate repayment of a USD96 million loan after defaulting on its payments, according to a bond prospectus released by parent firm Etisalat. In a statement, the United Arab Emirates’ largest listed company confirmed ‘Zantel is currently in non-payment default under a bilateral bank facility,’ although it stopped short of naming the creditor bank involved. If Zantel fails to make good on its commitment to pay off the entire balance, including interest and late fees, the financial institution could take enforcement action against it, it notes. Zantel is struggling to compete against larger rivals Vodacom Tanzania and Bharti’s Airtel Tanzania, and its subscriber based slumped sharply last year, despite there being ample room for growth in a market where cellular penetration stood at 57.4% at end-March 2014, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.

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