Slovenia invites bids for its biggest telecoms operator by June

LJUBLJANA Thu May 15, 2014 8:07am EDT

LJUBLJANA May 15 (Reuters) - Slovenia has asked potential buyers of its largest telecoms operator Telekom Slovenia to submit non-binding bids by the start of June, state investment fund SOD said on Thursday.

The company, the largest of 15 earmarked by Slovenia for privatisation last year, has a market capitalisation of 945.7 million euros ($1.3 billion).

The government aims to sell the 72.75 percent of the company currently in the hands of the state and state-owned businesses by the end of the year. The rest of the company is owned mainly by local companies and investors.

SOD, which is co-ordinating the sale, said the invited investors were chosen from those who expressed their interest in April but gave no details.

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

Shares of Telekom Slovenia were unchanged on Thursday at 144.7 euros, against a 0.3 percent decline for the blue-chip SBI index.

Slovenia narrowly avoided an international bailout last year and is banking on its privatisation programme to boost budget income and improve corporate governance.

Though the centre-left Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek resigned last week after losing the battle for the leadership of her Positive Slovenia party, her caretaker government says that privatisation plans will not be affected. ($1 = 0.7294 Euros)

(Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by David Goodman)

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