Nigeria begins fresh search for NITEL buyer

8 Aug 2011

Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency tasked with overseeing the privatisation of fixed line incumbent Nigeria Telecommunications (NITEL), has said it plans to restart the sale process of the telco, after the latest attempt to privatise the ailing company was cancelled earlier this year. ‘The government has granted BPE approval for a negotiated sale which is now the sale strategy for NITEL,’ Reuters quoted a spokesman for the privatisation body as saying. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the latest attempt to privatise NITEL and its mobile arm M-Tel was cancelled in June when the reserve bidder, British Virgin Islands-based Omen International, failed to meet the deadline to pay a 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.

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