Bloomberg News

Nigeria Terminates Privatization of Nitel, Bureau Says

June 15, 2011

(Updates with agency comments in second paragraph.)

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria halted the sale of Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. after the second-highest bidder for the state-owned company failed to meet a payment deadline, the country’s privatization agency said.

Omen International Ltd. didn’t pay a $105 million bid security to show it is still interested in Nitel, as the company is known, “in spite of a grace period granted” to the end of today, Chukwuma Nwokoh, spokesman for the Bureau of Public Enterprises, said in an e-mailed statement.

While Nigeria is considering other options, including liquidating Nitel or a negotiated sale, the government has “not yet taken a decision as to which of the options to pursue,” Nwokoh said.

The Abuja-based privatization agency asked Omen International to confirm its bid on March 14 after New Generation Group, the winner of the offer, didn’t meet payments on its bid for the phone company. Omen International had offered $956 million for Nitel in February 2010, behind New Generation’s $2.5 billion bid.

Omen had asked for an extension until June 10, according to the agency.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Ben Livesey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at

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