Slovenia invites bids for Telekom Slovenia

LJUBLJANA, April 2 Wed Apr 2, 2014 4:23am EDT

LJUBLJANA, April 2 (Reuters) - Slovenia has called for expressions of interest in the purchase of 75.6 percent of the country's largest telecoms operator Telekom Slovenia.

Bids for the company, the largest of the 15 earmarked last year for privatisation, are expected by April 23, state investment fund SOD said on Wednesday.

The government and state-owned businesses together own about 75 percent of Telekom Slovenia, which has a market capitalisation of 876 million euros ($1.2 billion), with the remainder in the hands of private investors.

A sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Economy Minister Metod Dragonja said in March.

Sources close to the deal told Reuters in December that private equity groups and companies such as Deutsche Telekom and Telenor could be interested.

The privatisation programme is a priority for the centre-left cabinet of Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek after Slovenia narrowly avoided an international bailout last year by pumping 3.3 billion euros into its banks. ($1 = 0.7249 Euros) (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by David Goodman)