Etisalat Nigeria has started changing its ownership structure after the negotiation with the banks to restructure a $1.2 billion-loan failed.

The telecoms firm has been in talks with Nigerian banks to restructure the loan after missing repayments but those discussions failed to produce an agreement.

Etisalat has now become the biggest foreign-owned victim of dollar shortages.

The loan that has proved so troubling for Etisalat Nigeria is a seven-year facility agreed with 13 banks in 2013 to refinance a $650 million loan and fund expansion of its network.

UAE's Etisalat, with a 45 percent stake in the Nigerian arm, on Tuesday said it had been ordered to transfer its shares to a loan trustee by June 23, after the negotiations failed.

It added it was carrying the stake at zero value.

Ibrahim Dikko, vice president for regulatory affairs at Etisalat Nigeria told Reuters that management is continuing to run the business after the shareholding changes and that there were contractual and regulator issues to be finalised.

Dikko said services to its subscribers will not be affected by the changes in shareholding.