PRISTINA Dec 29 A German investment company
that was thwarted in an attempt to buy Kosovo Telecom in 2013 is
seeking up to 400 million euros ($419 million) in compensation
in an international arbitration court, two sources close to the
matter told Reuters.
The sum of between 200 and 400 million euros represents
10-20 percent of the landlocked Balkan country's 2017 budget and
would be the latest blow to the Pristina government arising from
the former state-owned telecoms operator.
Kosovo's parliament blocked the planned sale of Kosovo
Telecom to ACP Axos Capital Gmbh for 277 million euros in 2013.
Prime Minister Isa Mustafa's government said it would
contest the claim, but declined to give details.
In a separate case last week, an international arbitration
court ordered the state-owned telecoms firm to pay 29.6 million
euros to local mobile telecoms service provider Z-mobile for
breach of contract.
Once valued at a billion euros, Kosovo Telecom last year saw
net profit drop 63 percent to 6 million euros. Trade Minister
Hykmete Bajrami has said it is now a loss-making company.
Kosovo Telecom employs some 2,300 people and is the
country's biggest mobile phone services provider with 54 percent
Independent for only nine years, Kosovo is one of Europe's
poorest countries. One-third of its workforce is unemployed.
The republic of 1.8 million people has not been able to
attract foreign investment to combat poverty. Corruption,
organised crime and political instability are cited by foreign
companies as the main obstacles.
($1 = 0.9547 euros)
(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and