BPE Extends Deadline for Proposals on NITEL/MTEL

The deadline for the submission of technical and financial proposals for the privatization of Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NITEL) and its mobile arm, M-tel, has been extended from Friday, January 22, 2010 to Friday, February 5, 2010.

A statement from the Bureau of Public Enterprises [BPE] said this decision was informed by the appeal of the 14 prospective investors for an extension of the submission deadline during the pre-bid conference which held in Abuja on January 14, 2010. The investors’ request was premised on their inability to conduct effective due diligence as a result of striking NITEL/M-TEL workers protesting the non-payment of their salaries.

In a letter to BNP Paribas, the privatization advisers, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Dr. Christopher Anyanwu, noted that the investors’ complaints have been duly considered and their request granted.

Consequently, he informed that “bidders are expected to submit their bids between 22nd January and 5th February 2010.”

Fourteen prospective investors undertook the virtual or electronic due diligence on Nitel and M-tel. The investors are MTN Nigeria Communication Ltd; Etisalat Nigeria; Brymedia (WA) Ltd; Finetek.com/Ericsson consortium; Omen International Ltd (BVI); Fugar Technologies and MTI Consortium. Others are Telefonica Consortium; Globacom Nigeria Ltd; Conau Ltd; Dansacom Technologies Ltd; Adison Consulting; AF21/ Spectrum Consortium and Foneama.com. 

It could be recalled that the advertisement for expressions of interest from prospective investors for the acquisition of at least 75 % equity in Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL.) was published locally and internationally in July 2009. The consortia that were pre-qualified for the next stage paid a non-refundable fee of $25, 000 for bidding documents and executed the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as part of the evaluation of the prospective bidders, is expected to conduct a ‘fit and proper’ test on each bidding consortium to participate in the bidding exercise.

In the advertisement, prospective investors were invited to apply to acquire either at least 75 % equity in the entire NITEL conglomerate or a stake in one or several of its components, namely, SAT-3; domestic fixed line telephony; national fibre-optic transmission backbone; CDMA network; and MTEL (GSM); It also noted that preference would be given to bidders who desire to acquire NITEL fixed lines, transmission backbone, MTEL and SAT-3 components together while those bidding separately for MTEL must be ready to make necessary investments to detach MTEL from the NITEL networks.

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