The sale of a controlling stake in state-run Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) will be completed by the end of the year, according to Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Cornelius Adebayo. ‘It is going very well, we expect by the end of this year the privatisation will be completed and the new buyer will take over early next year,’ Adebayo told Reuters. In July the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) pre-qualified six companies for the 51% in debt-ridden NITEL and, with it, the telco’s wholly owned mobile subsidiary NITEL GSM, from a list of 22 prospective investors. The BPE originally hoped to conclude a deal this month, but Adebayo now says the bidders are conducting due diligence and will submit their offers in the coming months. The companies are South African cellco Vodacom, Chinese equipment vendor Huawei Technologies, Orascom Telecom of Egypt, pan-African operator Celtel International, South Africa-based MTN Group and the relatively unknown Newtel consortium – thought to feature a number of prominent African businessmen, including Nelson Mandela’s son-in-law Kwame Amuah.