Nigeria extends bidding process for Nitel

Potential investors ask for extension after being unable to complete due diligence owing to staff strikes at Nitel

Tags: Mergers and acquisitionsNigeria
  • E-Mail
Nigeria extends bidding process for Nitel With a population of about 150 million, Nigeria is one of Africa's fastest growing telecom markets.
By  Roger Field Published  January 26, 2010

The privatisation of Nigeria's incumbent telecom operator Nitel is set for further delays after the country's Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said that it had again extended the deadline for proposals.

The latest extension gives investors until February 5 to submit their proposals, extended from January 22.

The development came after a number of potential investors requested an extension to carry out due diligence on Nitel and its mobile arm M-Tel.

The investors had been unable to complete the due diligence owing to strike action at the ailing operator, which prevented them from accessing sites in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt, according to local press reports.

Fourteen investors have undertaken limited due diligence on Nitel and M-tel, including the Nigerian division of MTN Group, Etisalat Nigeria, a consortium led by Telefonica of Spain, and local operator Globacom.

Daniel Jones, a partner at research firm Onda Analytics, told CommsMEA that Nitel had been "plagued by mismanagement over the years." Jones said it would take a "serious investor" to turn Nitel around given the chronic lack of investment it has received in recent years and the poor state of its network.

Nigeria had originally requested proposals from parties interested in acquiring a 75% stake in Nitel and its units including M-Tel, and the undersea cable SAT-3, back in August 2009, but the date has been pushed back numerous times owing to a lack of interest from international consortia and ongoing disputes over unpaid wages at  the company.

With a population of about 150 million people and a mobile penetration rate of about 43%, Nigeria is widely viewed as one of Africa's fastest growing telecom markets.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code