FRANKFURT Dec 12 Slovenia is hoping to attract
interest from Deutsche Telekom, Telenor and
other telecoms groups in a sale of a stake in its biggest
telecom group Telekom, part of efforts to raise money
to avoid an international bailout.
State-owned investment fund SOD, which is coordinating the
sale with the government, has hired Citi to organise the
sale of a roughly 75 percent stake, two people familiar with the
"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 which 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.
Proceeds from the Telekom sale would help Slovenia, which
was badly hit by the global financial crisis. The
government expects that recapitalising Slovenian banks will cost
4.8 billion euros. The government said on Thursday it would
raise this itself to avoid 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 has 2.1 million mobile phone
customers, giving it a 50 percent share of the market for mobile
services, ahead of rivals Simobil, with 30 percent, and
Tusmobil, with 11 percent.
It is also by far the dominant fixed-line provider at home.
In the first half of 2013, Telekom Slovenije's revenues were
flat at about 400 million euros. Earnings before interest,
taxes, depreciation and amortisation slipped 5 percent to 126
Telekom is the largest of 15 firms that the Slovenian
government earmarked for sale in May.
The government's SOD investment fund said Citigroup would
propose the mode and timing for the sale and invite potential
"The process will be transparent and competitive ... but SOD
is not providing detailed information about the sale," the fund
said in an emailed response to Reuters.
The Slovenian government, Deutsche Telekom and Cinven
declined to comment. Telenor and Providence were not immediately
available for comment.