China Unicom denies bid for Nigerian phone company

State-owned China Unicom Ltd. said Tuesday it has expressed interest in a technical role in the privatization of a Nigerian phone company but denied reports it was part of a consortium bidding for the carrier.

Unicom, one of China’s three major state-owned phone carriers, said its European unit contacted bidders for Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. but has held no direct negotiations. Unicom said it might be interested in exploring the possibility of an equity investment.

Unicom denied news reports last week that said it was part of a consortium that bid $2.5 billion for Nitel, the country’s former telecoms monopoly.

“Unicom Europe has indicated its interest in the provision of technical and managerial support services in relation to the Proposed Privatisation,” Unicom said in a statement released through the Hong Kong stock exchange.

However, it said, “the company has not participated in any direct discussions or negotiations with any relevant parties involved in the proposed privatisation.”

Associated Press