Govt confirms NATCOM’s $252m Nitel/Mtel purchase
| Dec. 19, 2014, 5:56 a.m.
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The Federal Government of Nigeria has confirmed the sale of former state-run but now moribund telco, the Nigerian Telecommunication (Nitel) and its mobile arm, Mtel to NATCOM Consortium for $252 million.
The telco was sold by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) after taking it through a process it described as “guided liquidation”.
The government, through the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) gave the nod to the transaction in Abuja this week.
Chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the NCP gave the process its blessing, at the meeting it held in Nigeria’s seat of government, Abuja, thus clearing the coast for NATCOM Consortium to get the relevant documents and subsequently take full ownership of the telco that has the first national carrier’s licence from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Chairman, Technical Committee, NCP, Atedo Peterside, explained that NATCOM had, in the bidding process, defeated another bidder that scaled the hurdle to get to the prequalification stage to win the contest.
Peterside said with the ratification of the transaction by the NCP, the entire bidding process had come to an end, adding that what is now left was documentation.
He added that the sale of Nitel, Mtel was different from that of from what happened with the sale of power plants because the telco had long ceased to be a flourishing ongoing concern while the power plants were not. Peterside said the liquidator will pay through the court, all verified claims of creditors of Nitel, Mtel.
“So what happened today was that the NCP approved the transaction which is like the final phase of the approvals because it is only the NCP that has the powers to pronounce the winner,
“So the NCP today confirmed the process and so the transaction from the point of view of approvals and emergence of a preferred bidder is now confirmed, so we now have a preferred bidder that has been fully ratified by the NCP. So that brings us to the end of that bidding process.”
“What follows thereafter is the usual documentation and payments which will follow as the rules specify. I’m sure so many of you know NITEL from the times past and today’s NITEL is a different NITEL from the one you knew when you were much younger, and I believe that the best we could have was to open it to the whole world let everybody come and let the highest credible bidder take it so that is the end of that process,” Peterside said.