Nigeria: NTA, Chinese Firm to Review Equity Structure in Star Times

Investment

The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Star Communications Technology of China are considering a review of the equity structure of NTA-Star TV Network Limited, operators of StarTimes pay television.

The review is expected to allow the NTA greater equity in the organisation, which is presently configured at a ratio of 70:30 in favour of the Chinese company.

A director of NTA-Star TV Network Limited, Maxwell Loko, who gave the indication in an interview in Abuja, said the current equity structure was as a result of what was brought to the table by both partners at the beginning of the partnership.

"If, in a business, your equity contribution is less than 30 per cent and your partner's equity contribution is almost 90 per cent and he has just 70 per cent, I think it is a good bargain for a start. Although we are not saying it is a static figure that will remain forever; we only needed to start something and we have started.

"These figures should not be something to scare Nigerians; we are in the process of reviewing it upward, so that we all can be very equal partners. In fact, what we are even looking at eventually is Nigeria even having the lion's share," he said.

Loko stated that StarTimes, which he said, has a low subscription rate, came into being as a result of the need for NTA to change its mode of broadcasting from the single analogue network to what is obtainable today in other parts of the world in order to be able to transmit simultaneously, multiple channels on the network.

"And to be able to do that, bearing in mind our technological and financial constraints, we had to look for partners outside Nigeria, and that is how we came about this joint venture partnership with the Star Communications Technology of China, which has given birth to what is today known as the NTA-Star TV Network Limited, the operators of StarTimes.

"Basically, this was how NTA-StarTimes came into being, with the sole purpose of offering digital terrestrial television (DTT) in Nigeria's landscape, so that every Nigerian should be able to watch digital signals of the 21st century quality as obtainable in other parts of the world," he said.