The Nigerian government has formally handed over the assets of defunct incumbent fixed line operator Nigeria Telecommunications (NITEL) to new owner NATCOM Consortium, writes The Guardian. Earlier this month the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) confirmed that NATCOM had paid the remaining 70% of the USD252.25 million total bid price for NITEL and its mobile arm M-Tel, having been announced as the preferred buyer in December 2014. The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) approved the ‘guided liquidation’ of NITEL and M-Tel in February 2012 in light of previous failed privatisation attempts and liabilities to creditors. Vice President Namadi Sambo has urged NATCOM to resuscitate the two companies and ensure improved service delivery to Nigerian consumers, while NATCOM’s chairman Olatunde Ayeni was quoted as saying at the handing over ceremony in Abuja that the firm will launch a new customer-driven and ‘unique brand’ in the market, but added that over USD1 billion was required to revive the moribund company.
NATCOM is a special purpose entity set up for the acquisition, comprising a consortium of companies reportedly including NATSPACE Telecommunication Investment, Hong Kong-based telco PCCW Global, Prime Union Investment Limited, Olutoyl Estate Development & Services, Sahara Energy Resources, Legal Resources Alliance & Co and technical partner LM Ericsson Nigeria. It is required to roll out telecoms services in Nigeria within the next three years.