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Former MTN CEO Adrian Wood Returns to Lead Ntel with Fresh Investors 

EXCERPT: Former MTN Boss Adrian Wood has taken the helm at ntel, with plans to raise $550 million for company restructuring.

The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Adrian Wood, who left Nigeria in 2004, has returned to the Nigerian telecoms space as the new Chief Executive Officer of ntel, the telecoms company that was unbundled from NITEL and managed by NATCOMS.

Wood, who resumed on January 8, 2024, as the new CEO of ntel, took over from the former CEO, Dr. Babatunde Omotoba, with plans to raise $550 million for restructuring of the new ntel.

In his new role, Wood has been tasked to shop for fresh investors and to rebrand the telecoms company, and he has assured the staff of ntel of his commitment and desire to meet up with his new role.

In a letter sent out by Wood to all ntel staff, dated June 5, 2024, he encouraged them to remain steadfast and assured them of his commitment to introduce fresh investors and to rebrand the company in few weeks time.

He also told them about his several meetings with the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), which took over the management of ntel since last year and plans by AMCON to return ntel to its new investors.

He also told them about his meeting with the management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

In the letter, Wood told ntel staff of his plans to introduce new products and services that have not existed in the Nigerian telecoms space.

Part of the letter read: “On 21 May, I visited the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida.  We had a very productive session about the forward plan for NATCOMS, our role in industry building, as well as the prospects for raising equity and debt capital to fund a complete new 4G/5G network design and rollout nationwide.

“Dr. Maida made several requests for support on NCC’s initiatives, which we will do. In the background, I have been engaging with potential institutional investors. 

“When the new financial business plan and offering document is ready soon, there will be a roadshow to raise (estimated) US$500 million to US$550 million, to restructure, rebuild and develop NATCOMS. 

“Already, together with CIO Anthony Adegbola, one New York investment fund visited some of our Lagos facilities.” 

He also revealed that he had a meeting with African Capital Alliance, one of Nigeria’s (and Africa’s) premier private equity funds group. 

“ACA was an early-stage investor in MTN Nigeria.  In fact, they told us it remains their investment with the best returns, ever.

“Next week I will be seeing three other potential institutional investors. All of them are Africa-focused, have investments in Nigeria in other segments, have offices in Nigeria and are seeking digital infrastructure projects to support with funding. 

“Of course, it will take months of negotiations to secure large capital commitments in several stages. And that is the purpose of (55% NATCOMS shareholder) AMCON’s Facility – to see us through the crucial Project Management Office planning phase, new capital formation and network roll out, prior to relaunching the business,” it added.

According to the letter, “There will be an exciting new brand.  There will be a set of business strategies that are fresh, innovative and new to the market.  There will be products and services, and service combinations, which do not exist in Nigeria at present. All technical systems and platforms will be constructed and rolled out nationwide, from the ground up.  It will be an enormous undertaking, but we will prevail.  I am sure of it.”

 Emma Okonji

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