Eleven interested in Telekom Srpska

6 Sep 2006

Eleven international companies have shown an interest in the sale of a 65% stake in Bosnia’s Telekom Srpske, according to Reuters. Telekom is the incumbent operator in the predominantly Serbian region of Republika Srpska (RS), situated in the north and east of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Tender documents for the privatisation have reportedly been purchased by Telekom Serbia, Mobilkom Austria, Magyar Telekom of Hungary and Russia’s Sistema Telecom. Further interest has come from Elisa Communications of Finland, Iceland’s Matav Madarska Novator, Telenor of Norway, Valiva of Switzerland and Planetsky of Cyprus, all of which have signed a confidentiality statement showing interest in the purchase of the documents, according to the RS Minister of Transport and Communications, Nedeljko Cubrilovic. The closing date for bids is 4 October.

There is significant opposition to the sale of Telekom Srpske from Bosnian Prime Minister Adnan Terzic. Last month he demanded that the central government be allowed to manage the privatisation of the operator, along with that of Bosnia’s two other public telecoms companies, BH Telekom and HT Mostar, which are expected to be offered for sale before the end of the year. Since the end of the civil war in 1995, the RS has been independently governed from the rest of country, which is controlled by the Muslim-Croat Federation. Both federations operate beneath the Council of Ministers, of which Prime Minister Terzic is head. Terzic says that proceeds from the sales of all three operators should be shared between the country as a whole. He has asked Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the High Representative in Bosnia & Herzegovina to put pressure on the RS government to hand over responsibility of the sale to the Council of Ministers. Schwarz-Schilling represents the international community through the United Nations and is also the European Union’s Special Representative in the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Telekom Srpske,

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