NATCOM Consortium, the preferred bidder of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, NITEL and its mobile arm, Mtel, has paid $176,575,700 (N29,696,469,600) — being the outstanding 70 percent of the $252,521,000 bid price for the acquisition of the assets and business units of the enterprises.
A statement released yesterday in Abuja by the Head, Public Communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe said the company paid the 70 percent balance on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015, four days ahead of the April 7, 2015 deadline for payment.
Recall that NATCOM had on January 6, 2015 paid $75,756,300 (N12, 727,058,400) being 30 percent of the bid price in line with the offer letter by the 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 percent 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, 2015 but due to the public holiday arising from the Easter celebration, the deadline was extended to Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
It would be recalled that the National Council on Privatization (NCP), at its meeting of February 27, 2012, approved the privatization 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 light of the previous failed attempts to privatize 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 Privatization.
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.
Consequently, 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.
At the closing date on June 30, 2014, seventeen (17) organizations/consortia submitted EOIs of which only two satisfactorily met the stipulated criteria for pre-qualification.
On September 18, 2014, the two successful applicants, NATCOM Consortium and NETTAG Consortium, that met the minimum pass mark of 75% were pre-qualified and issued the Request for Proposals (RFP) and allowed to proceed to data room and physical due diligence stage prior to preparation and submission of their technical and financial proposals.
The deadline for submission of technical and financial bids was Friday, November 7, 2014. The two pre-qualified bidders, NATCOM Consortium and NETTAG Consortium, submitted their technical and financial bids before the expiration of the deadline. The technical bids received from the two bidders were evaluated.
Unfortunately, one of the two pre-qualified bidders, NETTAG Consortium, was disqualified for failure to enclose a bid bond as clearly stipulated in the RFP.
Following the disqualification of NETTAG Consortium, only the financial bid of NATCOM Consortium qualified for opening on December 3, 2014; having scored an average of 92% in its technical proposal which was above the minimum pass mark of 75%, and had also satisfied the requirement of a valid bid bond.
Accordingly, the financial proposal of NATCOM Consortium was publicly opened on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 which it won with a bid price of $252.25m.
Consequently, the Consortium, on Monday, December 22, 2014 in Abuja, signed the Assets Sale Agreement and obtained the Offer Letter from the Liquidator of NITEL/MTEL and the BPE.
The companies would be handed over to the NATCOM Consortium after the approval of the National Council on Privatization.

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