Germans, Austrians, Russians "interested in Telekom"

Besides several companies from Germany, Austria, and Russia, a dozen investment funds - four of them from the U.S. - are interested in buying Telekom Srbija.

Source: Blic
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

The Serbian telecommunications company is now state-owned. The deadline for those interested to submit their non-binding offers has expired, and this list includes "more investment funds than telcoms," according to the Belgrade-based daily Blic.

Deutsche Telekom is among them, as is "a Russian company" - and, "as things stand now," Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, writes the paper. Slim wishes to acquire a stake in Telekom via Telekom Austria, where he is a majority owner.

But the Vienna media report that other shareholders oppose this move, "above all because of a lack of money," and that Telekom Austria "most likely will not submit a binding offer."

However, Slim has another option - to enter the race for the Serbian company via his Mexico-based America Movil.

In this phase, the state of Serbia has not yet decided on the state-owned share in Telekom's ownership structure that will not be for sale. Five years ago Telekom's value was estimated at EUR 2.2 billion, while the government at the time asked a minimum of EUR 1.4 billion for a 51 percent share. Telekom Austria, the only bidder at the time, offered EUR 1.1. billion and the sale fell through.

According to the newspaper, "the price tag could be a problem once again." The report suggests that "all those who entered tthe race to buy the Serbian operator" are considering offers "not even close to EUR 2.2 billion."

The daily also said that "the ad" did not state the company's estimated value but instead the bookkeeping value of its capital "that is, subscribed financial capital of RSD 17.4 billion and non-financial capital of RSD 82.5 billion."

According to the newspaper, "economists believe that Telekom should be sold, or given to expert managers."

Adviser for foreign investments Milan Kovacevic is thus quoted as saying that "Telekom is losing the race in markets in Serbia and also in Bosnia and Montenegro."

"It has competition everywhere," observed this expert, and added, "our state doesn't have the money to invest, and on the other hand there is the competition that doesn't have any problem with that, and that is a perspective in which Telekom will only lose."

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