MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS AND FINANCIAL RESULTS

NIGERIA, NITEL/MTEL PRIVATISATION: PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS IDENTIFIED

The path towards eventual privatisation of NITEL/MTEL has, perhaps proved to be the most cumbersome of any such exercise undertaken by the BPE, the agency charged with the responsibility of auctioning government owned enterprises. But the recent short listing of six bidders as prospective core investors marks the renewal of hope that the limping giant will soon leave the shelves. Ken Nwogbo reports.

Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has fixed this month for the financial bid for Nigeria's first telecom carrier - Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) and its mobile arm Nigeria Mobile Telecommunication Limited (Mtel).Six companies were approved and short-listed as prospective investors by the federal government for the acquisition of 51 per cent equity stake. The shortlisted bidders are Telkom and Vodacom consortium, consortium of Huawei others include: Jacuz, Orascom, Celtel, Newtel and MTN. The companies will be jostling for 51per cent stake in the beleaguered National Carrier (NITEL) and its fledgling mobile arm Mtel. The latest attempt to offload shares in NITEL will also include the flotation of a 20 per cent stake to the general public. The renewed move to sell the companies followed the cancellation of the management contract signed with Pentascope of the Netherlands over alleged incompetence leading to its failure to achieve pre-agreed goals.

BPE had despite opposition engaged the Dutch company in March 2003 and the result was to say the least, catastrophic In April the previous year, the same, then Mallam Nasir el-Rufai-led Bureau of Public Enterprises failed in its 2002 televised privatization adventure of NITEL.

The Daily Champion

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