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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Onyekwere hopeful on new NITEL

Remmy Nweke

Chief executive of a leading and pioneer Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the country, Linkserve Limited, Chief Chima Apugo-Onyekwere, has expressed optimism over the new management of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), the Transnational Corporation (Transcorp) meeting up after the deadline for it to pay-up 65 per cent total payment of purchasing NITEL.

It would be recalled that on July 3, Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) and Transcorp announced the acquisition of NITEL 75 shares by Transcorp in a joint press conference in Abuja to the tune of $750 million, about N9 billion.

Transcorp it would also be recollected failed to meet the initial deadline to pay up 50 per cent of the deal after 10 working days, which is $500 million, but by Monday, July 17 National Privatisation Council (NPC) through the BPE accepted Transcorp’s request for extension by 60 days.

Speaking to ITREALMS Online exclusively weekend in Lagos, Chief Apugo-Onyekwere, declared, “On NITEL, yes they can raise the money for sure.”

Although he noted that the nature of due diligence required in NITEL is much more than a few weeks of looking at books of a company.

Financing the purchase of that magnitude, he said, is significant and for a place that has not returned significant profit over time, “it is important to ensure assets claimed do really exist! However NITEL is a good buy for so many reasons.”

He further expressed surprise on why NITEL was not sold with government incentive to Private Telecom Operator (PTO) and local players or an encouraged management buy out.
“Has Globacom not proven that it can be done, that is, building a solid telecoms company in the country,” he enthused.

Linkserve Limited and its subsidiaries were established principally for the provision of Internet solutions amongst other information technology businesses and as a wholly owned Nigerian company incorporated in 1996, the firm commenced operation in 1997 with an IP connection to the Internet offering full Internet services to the public on real time.

Its client base cut across financial institutions, foreign missions, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the oil sector, government establishments, manufacturing sector and trading concerns.

The firm’s vision is to be the leading ISP in West Africa, as measured by, the number of subscribers, customer satisfaction and profitability.

Linkserve has its own hub in Homdel, New Jersy, United States (US) with a 15 megabit (mb) installed bandwidth capacity supporting her Ku-Band customers.

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