Kosovo gov’t calls for bids for Telecom

Kosovo gov’t calls for bids for Telecom

PRISTINA - Agence France-Presse
Kosovo gov’t calls for bids for Telecom

This photo shows a Turkcell showroom. Turkcell is eyeing Kosovo Telecom. Hürriyet photo

Kosovo’s government yesterday called for bids for a 75-percent stake of its biggest public company Kosovo Post and Telecom hoping to earn 300 million euros from the sale.

Five pre -qualified contenders, including Turkey’s largest mobile operator Turkcell, were invited “to take part in the bid to buy 75 percent of the company’s holdings,” the ministry for economic development said in a statement. The remaining 25 percent of the shares would remain in the “possession of the state for at least five years after the transaction.”

According to the ministry, the sale relates only to Telecom (PTK) and does not include the postal department of the company. The deadline to submit offers is two months.

 Although the companies “must meet all legal, financial and technical conditions,” a selected buyer would be the one “offering the highest bid,” the ministry said.

The company reports average annual revenue of about 150 million euros ($193 million).

Its website said PTK has more than one million mobile and around 100,000 landline phone subscribers. It also offers Internet services as well as cable TV subscriptions.

Washington-based investment company Albright Capital Management (ACM) led by former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, one of the key promoters of Kosovo’s independence, has qualified earlier to bid to buy Telecom in consortium with Portugal Telecom.

Among other prequalified bidders were consortiums led by British Telecom, Poland and Turkish Turkcell.

Albright is well-known in the region as she strongly supported a NATO air campaign against Belgrade security forces loyal to late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic which fought against independence sought by ethnic Albanian guerrilla forces in the 1998-1999 Kosovo war.

Serbia did not recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in 2008, but some 90 countries have.

Belgrade continues to consider the territory its southern province and contests Pristina’s bid to privatize Telecom and other public assets.