FRANKFURT Dec 12 Slovenia is hoping to attract
interest from Deutsche Telekom, Telenor and
other telecoms groups in the stake it will sell in local
incumbent Telekom, as the indebted country tries to
avoid an international bailout.
State-owned investment fund SOD, which is coordinating the
sale with the government, has retained Citi to organise
the sale of the roughly 75 percent stake, two people familiar
with the deal said.
"Deutsche Telekom and Telenor, which have a clear focus on
Eastern Europe, are expected to look at the asset," one of the
sources said. Other telecoms companies and private-equity groups
may join the race, the source said.
Private-equity groups that lost out in the auction of
Serbian cable operator SBB are likely to look at Telekom
Slovenije now, the person said. Buyout groups Cinven
and Providence were among the contenders for SBB, which was
bought by KKR in October.
The proceeds from the sales would be a boon for Slovenia,
which was badly hit by the global financial crisis.
The government expects that recapitalising
Slovenian banks will cost 4.8 billion euros, which it said on
Thursday it would raise itself, without becoming the latest euro
zone country to need a bailout.
Telekom Slovenije's market capitalisation is 790 million
euros ($1.1 billion). In its home market -- it is also active in
some other Balkan countries -- it counts 2.1 million mobile
phone customers, giving it a 50 percent share of the market for
mobile services. That outpaces rivals Simobil, with 30 percent,
and Tusmobil, with 11 percent.
In the first half of 2013, Telekom Slovenije's revenues were
flat at about 400 million euros. Earnings before interest,
taxes, depreciation and amortization slipped 5 percent to 126
Telekom is the largest of 15 firms that the Slovenian
government earmarked for sale in May.
The Slovenian government, Deutsche Telekom and Cinven
declined to comment. Telenor and Providence were not immediately
available for comment.