NATCOM Consortium,

NATCOM Consortium, the preferred bidder of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile arm, Nigerian Mobile Telecommunication (MTEL), has finally 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.

NATCOM had on January 6, 2015 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 it to make an initial deposit of 30 per cent 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 per cent of the bid price within 90 days, which expired on April 6, 2015 but due to the public holiday arising from the Easter celebration, the deadline was extended to Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

Daily Times recalls that the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), at its earlier meeting of February 27, 2012, approved the privatisation of NITEL and MTEL through guided liquidation.

The NCP adopted guided liquidation after due consideration of other options and in 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 NCP.

However, the bidder that acquires the assets of NITEL and MTEL will undertake to continue to operate the assets and to provide telecoms services contrary to the norms of traditional liquidation of an enterprise by assets stripping.

In view of this, advertisements for submission of Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from prospective bidders for the acquisition of the assets and business undertakings of NITEL and MTEL were placed in both local and international print media by the liquidator.

Only 17 Organisations/Consortia submitted EOIs at the close of June 30, 2014, out of which two satisfactorily met the stipulated criteria for pre-qualifications.

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