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JUST IN: Teleology finally ‘acquires’ 9mobile in over $500m deal

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Teleology Holdings, a special purpose vehicle promoted by a former Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Adrian Wood, has been selected as the preferred bidder of 9mobile, sources close to the ongoing sales of the debt-ridden telco confirmed to New Telegraph.
 
Teleology, a private equity firm with an investment portfolio of $11bn, offered more than $500 million to acquire the mobile network while Smile offered about $300 million.
 
This development may have brought to an end the acquisition process supervised by Barclays Africa.
 
Smile Telecoms Holdings, a telco operating in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo DR and South Africa, is the reserve bidder.
 
It was, however, gathered both companies will be given 30 days to prove that they have the financial resources to take over the troubled telco, just as an official announcement is expected to be made, latest, next Monday.
 
While over 10 bidders had indicated interest in acquiring the mobile network, only five were shortlisted before the number was further reduced to three.
 
Globacom and Helios had failed to back their technical bids with concrete financial bids, while Airtel pulled out of the process last week, leaving just Teleology and Smile Communications in the acquisition quest.
 
Airtel pulled out completely, complaining about “too many hidden things” in the health of the company.
 
Analysts project that if either Globacom or Airtel had taken over the company formerly known as Etisalat, they would have overtaken MTN as the biggest operator in Nigeria by a number of subscribers.
 
MTN currently has about 52 million active subscribers while Globacom and Airtel have 37 million and 36 million respective.
 
9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat, has over 17 million subscribers, which if added to either of Globacom’s or Airtel’s,  would have been higher than what MTN currently has.
 
Wood was a CEO of MTN Nigeria around 2002 was credited with building a very good business model.
 
The Australian has remained in the Nigerian business environment since November 2004 when he left MTN.
 
In July 2017, 9mobile was taken over by banks following a N541 billion debt overhang.
Mubadala Group, the major investor from the United Arab Emirates, pulled out of Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator as a result of the debt owed to a consortium of 13 banks.
 
The telco was then put on sale, with Barclays Africa acting as transaction advisers.
The telecom regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is expected to have the final say after decision of the interim board — because of licensing laws.
 
The NCC on January 11 had said “Barclays is expected to review the bids received by the deadline and to make recommendations to the 9Mobile Interim Board thereafter.”
After these processes, the interim board of 9mobile will then notify CBN and NCC of the winning bid.
 
“The NCC and CBN will be duly notified once the 9Mobile Interim Board accepts Barclays’ recommendations and a winning bid is determined in accordance with the terms of the exercise.
 
“The winner will now apply to NCC in order to commence the processes for securing the regulatory approvals from the Board of the NCC necessary to give full effect to the transfer.”
 
Meanwhile, the ongoing sale of 9mobile has continued despite a Friday, January 12, 2018, court ruling expected to have put the ongoing sale process in shambles.
 
In the judgment, Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos nullified the appointment of an interim board for Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS), owners of 9mobile, the country’s fourth-largest telecommunications service operator in Nigeria.
 
The judge gave the verdict in a ruling on an application by a firm, Spectrum Wireless Communication Ltd, which claimed it invested $35 million in EMTS/Etisalat in 2009.
United Capital, which is the umbrella body of all the 13 banks being owed $1.2 billion by 9mobile, had since appealed the court’s verdict.
 

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TCIP Customs explains cargo clearance delays at port

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The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said the recent in cargo clearance being witnessed by importers and Customs Brokers at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos is because the NCS Internet Server was down thus impeding cargo documents processing.

This was disclosed by the Tin Can Island Customs Public Relations Officer, CSP Tony Ejesieme during a chat with the Sunday Telegraph on Wednesday at the port city of Apapa.

Ejesieme noted that the internet network breakdown as experienced by the Service could cause delay at anytime and was not the fault of the NCS but that of a bad weather.

The PRO, who admitted that there was delay in cargo release, said the command had not captured any importers for cargo release but was optimistic that the network would surge back and cargo clearance processing would commence immediately.

“We have not been able to work since morning as no importers have been captured. This is another delay; issuing debit note has become a problem. But the network will certainly come back and we will commence work immediately,’’ said he.

According to him, the major reasons for delay were non-compliance with import guidelines, wrong classification and declaration by importers, and lack of working scanners.

He, however, absolved the Service of any complicity and maintained that the NCS works based on procedure. ‘’Whatever we are doing is based on procedure and in accordance with the import laws. It is true that there is delay; if there are issues of infraction, there will be delay,’’ he said.

Ejesieme also caused by lack of scanners, saying that all scanners in all the ports in Lagos have broken down completely except only one in Apapa which could not handle all cargo in the port and that is why many cargos are routed to physical examination.

‘’Scanners are not working; only one is working in Apapa, no one in Tin Can. The issue of scanners has to be settled and we have engaged government on it.’’

Advising importers and customs agents to adhere to the import guidelines, he said that the security of nation as the nation approaches the general elections in 2019 would not be compromised as the Service is working with other government agencies to protect the territorial boundaries of the nation.

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UBA Foundation reading through regions in Africa

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As part of its mission to improve the lives of communities in which the United Bank for Africa operates, UBA Foundation said it has continued to encourage African youths to adopt the culture of reading through its ‘Read Africa’ initiative.

Read Africa aims to rekindle the reading culture amongst young Africans. Designed and introduced in 2011 by the UBA Foundation, the initiative has donated hundreds of thousands of books to African schools since its inception.

This past week, The Foundation took its initiative to the francophone city of Libreville to the students of the George MABIGNATH high school in Gabon.

The launch of Read Africa in Gabon saw in attendance, the author of the selected book Sidonie, written by famous Gabonese writer Chantal Magalie MBAZOO.

It was a colorful ceremony that witnessed the CEO of the Foundation, Bola Atta reading to and interacting with the students in high energy in the presence of their Principal, Mrs. Boudounghou Biboutou Isabelle and other staff members.

Bola Atta summarized the Foundation’s initiative saying, “At the UBA Foundation, we are committed to improving the lives of the youths on the continent and one of the ways we can achieve this is to help you read more. I am here to talk to you a little about the importance of reading and how it can radically change your life. Reading encourages you to dream, it expands your knowledge, your vocabulary. It is a path to achieving your ambitions”.

 

Chioma Mang, the CEO of UBA Gabon also reiterated the mission of UBA and emphasized the bank’s commitment to the Gabonese community. “ I love children and I am happy to be here with you all today. I’d like to encourage you to read very well so that you can reach great heights in your life like me. UBA is going to be there for you all the way. You can count on us”, she said.

 

The Read Africa initiative then moved on to Zambia to the Horizon Secondary School in Lusaka where the Director in the ministry of higher education in charge of Vocation, Education and Training, Mr. Alex Simumba, thanked UBA and the Foundation for the good work that is being done across Africa. He said, “To UBA Foundation, we thank you for your support to the institution today. We welcome this and many more collaboration in the field of literacy and other higher education programmes. We also further encourage other private sector organisations to take a keen interest in such programmes because the youths who are receiving these literary materials will be benefitting greatly from them,” he said.

 

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Shell has disbursed N1.88bn to GMoU clusters in Delta State

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The General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Mr. Igo Weli has said that Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC) is still active in Delta State noting that the oil giant has executed a lot of projects in the state.

According to him, the oil giant has disbursed a total sum of N1.88 billion to Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) in clusters.

Igo Weli, who disclosed this when he spoke with newsmen in Warri on Thursday, revealed that the GMoU funding covers the three clusters currently active in Delta State since the inception of the concept in 2006, adding that Cluster Development Boards (CDBs) like their counterparts in other parts of the Niger Delta, are implementing health and educational projects among others.

During the media presentation of the 2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes to Journalists, he also disclosed that Shell has established a Professorial Chair at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE,) as it continues to operate in the state and contribute to its development.

Weli explained that the Professorial Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development was activated at FUPRE in December last year and is the latest of six established by SPDC JV, noting that the Chair at Effurun is expected to contribute to the growth of local content in Nigeria’s automobile industry.

He added that in a bid to boost employment especially among youths, more than 700 young men and women have benefited from Shell’s LiveWIRE initiative between 2003 and 2017.

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