New Generation Telecommunications, the consortium which emerged as the preferred buyer for state-run incumbent telco Nigeria Telecommunications (NITEL) in February 2010, has now been given until mid-December to pay a USD750 million bid security for the ailing operator, the Daily Trust reports. President Goodluck Jonathon approved the consortium’s bid of USD2.5 billion for a 75% stake in NITEL and its mobile arm M-Tel in October 2010, after an eight month delay. New Generation – which comprises Minerva Group of Dubai, Nigeria’s GiCell Wireless and technical partner China Unicom – was asked to pay a bid security of USD750 million within ten days from 25 October and was given 60 days to pay the remaining USD1.75 billion. However, on 5 November the bid security deadline was extended by 20 working days, after the consortium failed to come up with the funds in time. Usman Gumi, GiCell’s managing director, said New Generation had missed the deadline because some of the consortium’s financial partners had developed ‘cold feet’ since the firm was announced as the winning bidder back in February. However, the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) has now said that said that the extension will expire by the third week of December. According to an unnamed New Generation official, the consortium is confident it will meet the new deadline, as it has finalised all payment arrangements with its foreign partners.
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