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.