Lone bid for Serbian operator dismissed

The sole offer for a 51% stake in the Serbian operator Telekom Srbija has been rejected by the country’s government. The EUR1.1 billion bid from Telekom Austria fell short of the EUR1.4 billion demanded by Serbia’s telecom authorities – an amount dismissed by the Austrian operator as “economically not realisable”.

The offer would have seen Telekom Austria paying EUR800 million initially, followed by annual instalments over the next nine years – a marked increase on the operator’s previous offer, valued at between EUR800 million and EUR950 million with an EUR450 million capex investment.

Statements from Telekom Austria confirm its conviction that “the current offer is attractive and reflects the market conditions in a fair way”, and note that it was “the only company, among an initial list of seven renowned international telecommunications companies, to submit an offer.” The members of this list reportedly included VimpelCom, Telefonica, France Telecom and America Movil.

The Austrian firm already has operations in Serbia in the form of its mobile business Vip, which takes third place in the market with a share of 12.9%. This firm has “generated a revenue growth of 30 percent”, and is seen by the Austrian operator as “a good starting point for further growth.”

Serbia’s largest mobile operator, m:ts, is directly controlled by Telekom Srbija. The mobile operator has an almost 60% share of the market.

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