BELGRADE, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Six companies have placed binding bides for a majority stake in state-owned Telekom Srbija, a Serbian government official said on Monday.
The offers for Serbia’s largest telecoms provider will be examined and a preferred bidder selected in the next 14 days, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic said, after which the government will enter negotiations with the chosen suitor.
“If we don’t think a single bid is good enough, we may decide to give up the privatisation,” Ljajic said.
The government’s last attempt to sell the company, in 2011, failed after it rejected Telekom Austria’s 1.1 billion euro ($1.17 billion) bid for a 51 percent stake as too low.
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said earlier on Monday that he expects an offer of 1.4 billion euros for the government’s 58 percent stake in Telekom Serbia.
A government official this month said that China Telecom Corp was among companies interested in the stake.
Ljajic declined to name any of the bidders on Monday but said that most interest had come from investment funds.
The company, which is a majority stakeholder in Bosnia’s second-largest telecoms operator Telekom Srpske and controls Montenegrin mobile operator M:Tel, employs about 8,600 people. It reported a 13 percent increase in net profit in 2014 to 17.804 billion Serbian dinars ($158.19 million). ($1 = 112.5500 Serbian dinars) ($1 = 0.9364 euros)
Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by David Goodman