The Serbian government and a group of Austrian investors have set a USD977 million starting price for the sale of Mobtel, which they plan to sell in a competitive auction. No date has yet been set for the tender, though Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic hopes the transaction will be completed by late July. Prospective bidders will be required to have at least three million telecoms customers and 2005 profit of USD610 million.
The future of Mobtel has been up in the air since last year when disgraced tycoon Bogoljub Karic, the man who founded Mobtel in 1994, was accused of fraud and corruption. Karic fled the country, but not before selling his 30% stake in the company to an Austrian consortium led by Martin Schlaff. The Austrians and the Serbian government have since agreed to rebrand Mobtel under the Mobi-63 banner. As part of its plan to make it more attractive to potential investors the government has pledged not to open the wireless market to further competition until the end of 2008.