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Published On: Thu, Jan 15th, 2015

Beleaguered NITEL gets buyer for US$252m

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By Etuka Sunday with agency report

The beleaguered Nigeria Telecommunications (NITEL) and its mobile arm, Nigerian Mobile Telecommunication (MTEL), have been sold to the preferred bidder, which has paid $75.7 million.

The payment represents 30 percent of the $252.5 million bid price for the acquisition of the assets and business units of the enterprises.

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the federal government’s agency charged with the privatization of state-run companies, said in a statement on Wednesday, in Abuja, that the payment was in line with the offer letter by the BPE to the preferred bidder, NATCOM Consortium.

The preferred bidders were mandated to make an initial deposit of 30 percent of the bid price not later than 14 days on receipt of the offer letter.

Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, Spokesman of BPE, said: “With the payment of the 30 percent, NATCOM is expected to pay the balance of 70 percent of the bid price within 90 days.

“It is therefore imperative to inform creditors that disbursements to them will be considered only after full payment has been received,” he said.

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) on February 27, 2012, approved the privatisation of NITEL and MTEL as stipulated by the extant guidelines for the sale of public properties.

All the assets and undertaking of NITEL and MTEL, by this development, have been sold as a single or multiple lots to a qualified bidder by the liquidator under the general guidance of the National Council on Privatisation.

NATCOM and NETTAG Consortia met the minimum pass mark of 75 percent and were pre-qualified and issued the Request for Proposals (RFP) and allowed to proceed to data room and physical due diligence stage prior to preparation and submission of their technical and financial proposals.

But NATCOM Consortium qualified for opening on December 3, 2014; having scored an average of 92 percent in its technical proposal, which was above the minimum pass mark of 75 percent and satisfied the requirement of a valid bid bond.

NITEL and MTEL have been sold three times, but the preferred bidders could not pay in each of the occasions.

NITEL was Nigeria’s communication flagship and enjoyed telephony monopoly until 2001 when Global System of Communication (GSM) was introduced and many providers emerged thereafter.

The company, which provided the nation’s land line became comatose, when it was given out to PENTOSCOPE for management in 2004.

Before it ran into troubled waters, NITEL provided more than 400,000 lines across the country. (Source : APA)


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