Despite its moribund state, Nigeria Telecommunication Ltd (NITEL) and its mobile arm, Mtel, are still attractive to investors as 17 bidders are now prospecting for their core assets in the ongoing guided liquidation exercise of the national telecom carrier.
The assets on bid for NITEL are the licences and the spectrum, the nationwide fixed wired networks, the national right of way duct system, the fibre optic transmission backbone, and the CDMA network system. Others are international gateway earth stations, microwave transmission equipment/network and towers and other core assets.
For Mtel, the assets on sale are the licences and the spectrum, national right of way, the Mtel GSM network including mobile switching centres, base station controllers, base transceiver stations and the general packet radio services. Others are the analog (TACs) system and other core assets.
Also on offer is the SAT-3 international submarine cable in which NITEL has 6.32 percent shareholding in the consortium.
The bidders emerged after the June 30 deadline for expression of interest in an exercise being handled by Olutola Senbore & Co, the liquidator appointed by the Federal Government to dispose of the companies that have defied three attempts at their privatisation.
Benjamin Dikki, director-general, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said the number of prospectors was a reflection of the feedback from the recent road show in the United Kingdom and the attraction of the moribund firms.
“When the time for the submission of Expression of Interests (EoIs) closed, we got 17 EoIs. Five were late and were not accommodated in strict compliance to our rules,” Dikki said.
He said the 17 bidders were currently being evaluated and would go through the approval process, and that BPE would announce those that emerged on completion of evaluation, adding, “They would be given a chance to do due diligence, and then at the appropriate time be asked to submit technical and financial bids.”