The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has approved a new plan to privatise fixed line former monopoly Ukrtelecom, the country’s only 3G mobile operator. The state intends to sell a controlling 67.8% stake to a strategic investor via a tender, whilst retaining a ‘blocking’ shareholding of 25% plus one share. According to Dmitry Parfenenko, deputy head of the Ukraine’s state property fund (SPF), proposals to ‘detach networks servicing specialised communication customers from Ukrtelecom’ and tender procedures will be formulated within a month. The shares to be put up for sale will be ‘evaluated in February-March.’ Potential bidders for the stake include Sistema (owner of Russian mobile group MTS), Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor, Russian conglomerate Alfa (which along with Telenor holds a stake in Ukrainian cellco Kyivstar), Ukraine’s System Capital Management (owner of Ukrtelecom’s largest fixed line competitor Optima Telecom/Farlep-Invest), Hungary’s Magyar Telekom (controlled by Deutsche Telekom), Telekom Austria and Turkish mobile group Turkcell.
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