Nigeria Set To Liquidate NITEL, MTEL

Telecoms

After several failed attempts at privatizing national telecom companies, Nigerian telecommunication Limited (NITEL) and Nigerian Mobile Telecommunication Limited (MTEL), the West African country has opted for a “guided liquidation” of the companies’ non-core assets to settle debts owed to stakeholders.

Nigeria Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) – the organisation that supervises sale of national assets – announced that the government has appointed liquidators to oversee the bidding process for assets of the two companies.

The BPE wants bidders with five years of telecom experience and a net worth of at least $200 million. Bids are expected to flow in before the end of June and the assets would be handed over to the preferred bidder in December as stated in a public note.

Nigeria decided to liquidate Nitel in March after attempts to privatize the companies proved unsuccessful.

Privatization of NITEL began as far back as 2001 when the national telecom firm was put up for sale. Ms International London Limited (ILL) emerged the preferred bidder for $1.317 billion but failed to meet the payment deadline. In 2003, Pentascope of Netherlands was contracted by the Federal Government to manage and reposition NITEL for another round of privatization process which also failed.

In 2006, Transcorp was well placed to acquire the company for $500 million after been victorious in the bidding rounds. The consortium however failed to fulfil its financial obligation .

In February 2010, New Generation Consortium, made up of Nigeria’s GiCell Wireless Limited, China Unicom of Hong Kong and Minerva Group of Dubai was lined up to secure the company for $2.5 billion but the deal also failed to materialize.