The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) confirms the preferred bidder of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile arm (Mtel), NATCOM Consortium, has paid $176,575,700 (N29,696,469,600) — being the outstanding 70 per cent of the $252,521,000 bid price for the acquisition of the assets and business units of the enterprises.
Its Head, Public Communications, Chgbo Anichebe, said the company paid the 70 per cent balance April 2, four days ahead of the April 7 deadline for payment.
NATCOM had on January 6, this year paid $75,756,300 (N12, 727,058,400), being 30 per cent of the bid price in line with the offer letter by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), which mandated NATCOM, to make an initial deposit of 30 percent of the bid price not later than 14 days from the date of the offer letter.
With the earlier 30 per cent payment, NATCOM was expected to pay the remaining balance of 70 percent of the bid price within 90 days which was to expire on April 6, this year but due to the public holiday arising from the Easter celebration, the deadline was extended to April 7.
The National Council on Privatization (NCP) had at its meeting of February 27, 2012, approved the privatisation of Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NITEL) and Nigerian Mobile Telecommunication (MTEL) through “guided liquidation”.
The strategy was adopted by the Council after due consideration of other options and in the light of the previous failed attempts to privatise NITEL and MTEL through Strategic Core Investor Sale and Negotiated Sale strategies and the huge liabilities to creditors to the tune of over N300 billion.
Under the guided liquidation strategy, all the core assets and business undertakings of NITEL and MTEL were to be sold to a qualified bidder by the Liquidator under the general guidance of the National Council on Privatisation.
Thus, the bidder that acquires the assets of NITEL and MTEL will pledge to continue to operate the assets to provide telecoms services. This is as against the traditional liquidation of an enterprise by assets stripping.