Ukraine’s State Property Fund (SPF) has announced plans to sell a 67.8% stake in former monopoly fixed line operator Ukrtelecom in December this year, to leave the government with 25%-plus-one-share. No share price range or other details were announced for the long-awaited sale. In March 2009 the SPF said that at least ten potential bidders had expressed interest in acquiring a stake in the telco, which includes a 3G mobile division (under the Utel brand). Those with a confirmed interest include Russia’s Sistema group and its subsidiary Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), which also operates in Ukraine, and Turkish mobile operator Turkcell (part-owner of Ukrainian cellco Astelit), as well as, reportedly, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, Russian long-distance operator Rostelecom (backed by state telecoms holding group Svyazinvest), Bank of New York, UBS, Alfa Capital and Nomura. Norwegian incumbent Telenor (majority owner of Ukrainian cellular market leader Kyivstar) has also been invited to bid by Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Timoshenko.
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