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No deal on NITEL yet, says China Unicom

By Adekunle Adekoya, with agency reports

LAGOS—NITEL’s privatization took a new twist yesterday when China’s second biggest mobile operator, China Unicom, announced in a statement that one of its subsidiaries, China Unicom (Europe) Operations Ltd is interested in the ailing carrier, but as yet, there are no discussions on any “substantive and legally binding agreements.”

Further, according to postings on online financial news portals, Bloomberg.com and Dow Jones, the firm in the statement added that a possible investment in NITEL is “subject to certain conditions being fulfilled.”

This is coming six days after New Generation Telecom, a consortium of investors which was said to include China Unicom won the NITEL bid, which instantly became controversial. In a filing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) yesterday, China Unicom said its wholly owned UK unit, China Unicom (Europe) Operations Ltd., “would be interested in exploring the possibility of equity investment in NITEL,” and “indicated its interest in the provision of technical and managerial support services.”


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