A controlling stake in Telekom Srbija has been made publicly available by the country’s privatisation agency.
Non-binding offers for the 58% stake will be accepted up until August 2nd, but the bidding is only open for firms with either a reported revenue of over €500 million or assets worth at least €2 billion.
Currently the country’s government holds the largest stake in the operator. A further 20% is owned by the operator itself, with the remainder held by small shareholders and various current and former employees.
Telekom Srbija’s net profit for 2014 was RSD15.7 billion (€144 million), plus it holds majority stakes in two other operators in the region: Bosnian number two Telekom Srpske and Montenegro’s M:Tel. The Serbian government put the fixed and mobile operator up for sale in 2011 but deemed a €1.1 billion bid for a 51% stake from Telekom Austria to be too low.
Serbia is attempting to sell several state-owned enterprises in order to bring its finances into order as it looks to join the EU. The sale is likely aimed at meeting targets set by the International Monetary Fund for the country’s 3-year loan deal.
Telekom Srbija leads the market with around 4.7 million subscribers. In 2002 and then 2012, the government reacquired stakes that it had respectively sold to Telecom Italia and Greek operator OTE back in the 1990s.