The government of the Republic of Belarus has reduced the price of its 51% stake in joint venture mobile operator MTS Belarus to USD863 million from USD1 billion previously, as it looks to complete the sale of the unit by 6 February 2014. The government is accepting bid applications until 5 February, it said.
Last month, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported the government as saying that it was confident of selling its majority stake in MTS Belarus, despite numerous failures to do so in the past due to the USD1 billion asking price. Speaking at the expanded participation session of the Economic Policy Commission and the Budget and Finance Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly on 14 November, deputy economy minister Alexander Yaroshenko said that the administration expects the proceeds of the sale to contribute roughly half of Belarus’ balance of payments next year, suggesting that the government was relaxing its position a little vis-a-vis its valuation of the operator. With 49% joint venture partner Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) having previously balked at the government’s USD1 billion valuation of its majority stake, Alexander Yaroshenko was quoted as saying that ‘USD800-USD900 million is the sum that can cover half of the balance of payments’. The Russian partner has declined to comment on whether or not it will submit a bid.