German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom (DT) is said to be interested in establishing a strategic partnership with Bosnian multi-service operator BH Telecom, SeeNews reports, citing Bosnian media outlet Novi.ba. It is understood that DT has delegated an advisor to assist the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as it implements reforms in line with an agreement it has with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, this development has led to speculation that the state could sell a minority stake in BH Telecom to the German outfit with a view to improving the former’s business operations. Notably, DT already has an interest in one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s operators, with its Croatian unit Hrvatski Telekom holding a 39.01% stake in HT Mostar.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, however, earlier this month the government claimed it had no current plans to privatise BH Telecom, scotching media reports that a sale was being considered by the IMF. In a press statement the state said: ‘The sale of BH Telecom has never been a condition of the IMF’. Despite this, the government has previously confirmed (in November 2016) that the IMF does expect the restructuring of both BH Telecom and the country’s other state-owned telco, HT Mostar, as a condition of the financial body’s EUR550 million (USD575 million) loan deal with Bosnia.