Telekom Srbija will not be privatised unless a good price is achieved - PM Vucic

Telekom Srbija will not be privatised unless a good price is achieved - PM Vucic
By Ivana Jovanovic in Belgrade November 3, 2015

Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on November 2 that Telekom Srbija, the government majority-owned telecommunication giant, will not be privatised unless a good price is met.

According to the prime minister, the sale of the state's 58.11% stake in the telco is necessary, since the company needs to improve operations and follow the global trends of the industry in order to be completive. However, he added that there is no public awareness of this in Serbia, where the majority see Telekom Srbija as a kind of national treasure.

Representatives of the telco’s unions are resisting and fighting against the privatisation, and filed a petition dubbed "Stop the sale of Telekom," which has more than 100,000 signatures.

Representatives of the unions pointed out earlier that “all employees and most Serbian citizens” are against the planned sale. They also announced a large protest on November 11 in front of the government, to which all citizens who oppose the sale, as well as partner companies, have been invited.

According to Tanjug, when asked about the announced strike of the trade unions, Vucic said that it was “nothing strange, since we live in an economy where few people think about the future, but only look to preserve what has already been achieved.”

The Serbian government is Telekom Srbija’s single largest shareholder, with a 58.11% stake, with the company owning 20% and the rest belonging to small shareholders and to current and former employees.

On July 3 the Serbian government announced plans to sell its 58.11% share in the company, and the Agency for Privatisation invited companies with at least €2bn worth of assets or with revenues of over €500mn to make non-binding offers by August 2.

According to a statement issued by the ministry of economy, the government’s commission for the telco’s privatisation has already ranked the offers submitted, and drawn up a list of bidders able to take part in the second phase of the procedure, set to open at the beginning of November.