German and French telecoms interested in Serbia's Telekom

10th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Seven companies, among them Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, have purchased tender documentation for the upcoming sale of a majority stake of state-controlled Telekom Serbia, officials said Friday.

"Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telekom Austria, (Mexican) America Movil, (Russian) Weather investments, Turkcell and (Russian) Vimpelcom applied to take part in the sale of 51 percent of Telekom Srbija," the finance ministry said in a statement.

Binding bids are due by February 21, the ministry said.

If multiple bids are recieved, a televised auction will be held by the end of February, it added.

The buyer offering the highest bid will win, and in case only one bid is received, Telekom would be sold for the offered price.

The government of Serbia owns 80 percent of Telekom Srbija, while the remaining 20 percent is owned by Greece's OTE.

The Serbian government decided in October to sell Telekom, setting an estimated market value at 2.43 billion euros (3.22 billion dollars).

According to Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic, the Serbian government expects to get at least 1.4 billion euros for Telekom. The government has said the proceeds would be used for reconstruction of the country's infrastructure.

Telekom enjoyed a monopoly in the country until January, when Norwegian telecommunication company Telenor won a licence to develop the Balkan country's second fixed telephone line network.

Telekom also owns the biggest mobile phone operator MTS in the country of some 7.5 million people.

According to its website, Telekom Srbija earned 13.3 billion dinars (12.5 million euros) profit in 2009. It has 3.2 million clients in fixed telephony and 5.9 million clients in mobile telephony, which represents 60 percent of the market.

The Serbian company also owns telecommunication operators in Montenegro and Bosnia with an additional 1.8 million clients in mobile and 200,000 users in fixed telephony. It has more than 600,000 internet subscribers.

The group Telekom Srbija employs more than 14,100 people, including 9,655 in Serbia.

© 2010 AFP

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