| LJUBLJANA, Sept 2
LJUBLJANA, Sept 2 The privatisation of
Slovenia's largest telecoms provider Telekom will
probably be delayed until the new government, which is likely to
take over later in September, endorses the sale, daily paper
Finance reported on Tuesday.
"All possible buyers are waiting for the new government to
say whether the privatisation will continue as planned," said
Finance, citing an unofficial source.
Law professor Miro Cerar, who became Slovenia's prime
minister last week after his Party of Miro Cerar (SMC) won a
snap general election in July, will take over after parliament
approves his cabinet, which is expected within two weeks.
His SMC party is due to sign a coalition agreement with
pensioners' party Desus and the centre-left Social Democrats
(SD) later this week, with Desus and SD both reluctant about
privatisation in general.
Cerar had said he was against the privatisation of
strategically-important firms like Telekom but would not stop
the sale if that would hurt Slovenia's credibility.
According to local media, the draft coalition agreement
includes the possibility of dividing Telekom into services and
infrastructure parts before the sale, so the infrastructure
could remain in state hands.
Analysts said that would halve the price of Telekom which
has a market capitalisation of 855 million euros ($1.1 billion)
and was expected to be sold for about one billion euros.
"I hope the government will not divide Telekom as in that
case it will probably not find a buyer at all. However, I expect
that Telekom will be sold as a whole company, also due to the
pressure from Brussels," said Jure Vrhunec, a trader at
Telekom is the largest of 15 firms that the outgoing
centre-left government slated for privatisation last year. So
far only two of those have been sold.
Privatisation is seen as a key element in Slovenia's drive
to consolidate public finances after the country narrowly
avoided an international bailout for its banks in December.
Sources close to the deal told Reuters in July telecom firms
Deutsche Telekom and Turkcell and
investment companies CVC, Cinven, Providence
and Apax could be interested in purchasing Telekom.
Government investment firm SDH, which is in charge of
coordinating the sale of Telekom, gave no immediate comment but
said in June it would invite investors to submit binding bids
later this year.
The outgoing government had expected to sell Telekom by the
end of the year.
The government and state-owned firms are selling a total of
72.75 percent of Telekom, with the rest of the company already
in the hands of private investors.
(1 US dollar = 0.7618 euro)
(Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Mark Potter)