MTN, five others advance to next stage of NITEL privatisation

9 Feb 2010

Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has announced that it will open financial bids for the privatisation of incumbent fixed line operator Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) and its mobile arm M-Tel on 16 February 2010, local newspaper This Day reports. According to the BPE, only six of the 14 pre-qualified consortia met the 5 February deadline for the submission of technical and financial proposals, and will therefore be able to submit bids for the minimum 75% stake. The successful candidates are: Brymedia; AF21/Spectrum consortium; MTN Nigeria; Globacom Nigeria; Omen International; and New Generation Telecommunications (formerly known as Telefonica Consortium).

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the federal government began seeking a buyer for a minimum 75% of NITEL and 100% of its mobile unit in July 2009 after previous majority shareholder Transcorp divested its stake earlier in the year. The original deadline for the submission of technical and financial bids was 2 October 2009, but this was pushed back to 26 October due to the complexity of the process, and then again to 5 February 2010 to allow for additional time for prospective investors to conclude due diligence. Prospective investors are invited to acquire either at least 75% equity in the entire NITEL conglomerate or a stake in one or several of its components, including M-Tel, submarine fibre-optic cable division SAT-3, the company’s domestic fixed line infrastructure, its national fibre-optic transmission backbone, and its CDMA network.