The Nigerian mobile telecoms industry has seen two large debt financings in recent weeks.

The largest has been signed by MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of the South African multinational telecoms giant MTN and is worth US$3bn. There are two tranches to the facility. The first is worth US$1.8bn and the second, a rollover and restructuring of existing facilities, US$1.2bn.

MTN arranged the finance itself and 17 commercial and development banks and export credit agencies are involved. Guaranty Trust Bank acted as co-ordinating bank and the rest of the club consists of Nigerian-based GT Bank, First Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA, Access Bank, Keystone Bank, FCMB, Standard Chartered (Nigeria), Citibank (Nigeria), Diamond, Ecobank, FSDH Merchant Bank, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Nigeria, Mainstreet, Union Bank and Fidelity Bank.

Seven overseas financial institutions are also involved, namely: KfW, RMB (SA), Export Development Canada, Nedbank, ICBC, China Development Bank, and China Construction Bank.

70% of the finance is in local naira, while the remainder is in the form of US dollars. MTN is the largest mobile network in Nigeria by subscribers. It will use the package to expand its network coverage.

Meanwhile, Etisalat Nigeria, the local subsidiary of the UAE-based telecoms provider, has secured a US$1.2bn package. The syndicate is comprised of the following banks: Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank, United Bank of Africa, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank, Keystone Bank, First City Monument Bank, FSDH Merchant Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank.

The loan will refinance current debt and fund network expansion. The spate of investment in mobile networks comes as companies try to offset the impact of power cuts and also the sabotaging efforts of Islamist militants in the country’s north.