The government of Belarus is sticking to its guns and plans to sell its majority stake in MTS Belarus for USD1 billion, despite apparent disinterest from potential buyers, the deputy prime minister Anatoli Kalinin is quoted as saying. With the cellco’s joint venture partner Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) of Russia and an Iranian investment vehicle reportedly interested in the stake, Kalinin went on record as saying that while some may think the asking price high, ‘that is the price’. MTS of Russia, which owns 49% of the cellco, has long argued that the USD1 billion valuation is inflated and to bear this out, the state has spent over a year now trying – unsuccessfully – to offload its equity stake.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the government will hold a presentation on 2 November to launch the state’s proposed sale of its 51% stake. According to Ella Chazova, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, the aim of the presentation is to identify potential buyers for the state’s equity. The date of the auction has yet to be finalised.