Nigeria gives go-ahead for NITEL liquidation

2 Mar 2012

The federal government of Nigeria has approved the adoption of a guided liquidation strategy for ailing fixed line incumbent Nigeria Telecommunications (NITEL) and its mobile arm M-Tel. The move follows a series of failed attempts at selling the indebted state-owned telco. Local newspaper THISDAY reports that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency tasked with overseeing the privatisation of NITEL, has announced that the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), during its first meeting for 2012, endorsed the recommendations that ‘guided liquidation’ should be adopted as the strategy for the privatisation of NITEL and its wireless arm, considering the large liabilities of both companies. The decision follows the cancellation of the latest attempt to privatise the firm in June 2011 when the reserve bidder, British Virgin Islands-based Omen International, failed to meet the deadline to pay its USD105 million bid security. Omen was invited to re-register its interest in buying NITEL in March 2011, as preferred buyer New Generation Telecommunications repeatedly missed the payment deadlines for its bid of USD2.5 billion. Omen offered USD956.9 million during the latest attempt to privatise the company, held in February 2010. The government began seeking a buyer for a minimum 75% of NITEL and 100% of M-Tel in July 2009 after previous majority shareholder Transcorp divested its stake earlier in the year.

Nigeria, ntel (formerly NITEL/M-Tel)