Kyrgyzstan gives up on Alfa Telecom privatisation after nearly a decade

Kyrgyzstan gives up on Alfa Telecom privatisation after nearly a decade
Bishkek is sticking with its state-owned telco (pictured is the capital's Ala-too Square, with the Erkindik Monument (Freedom Monument)).
By bne IntelliNews October 29, 2018

The Kyrgyz government has opted against including state-owned mobile operator Alfa Telecom in its submitted draft privatisation programme for 2018-2020. It appears to have given up on the sell-off of a 100% stake in the telco after nearly a decade of efforts.

Alfa Telecom is the absolutely dominant player on the Kyrgyzstan’s telecommunications market, covering 98% of the country’s mobile communications with 3mn subscribers.

Alfa Telecom CJSC was established in 2009 by Alexey Eliseyev, an associate of Maksim Bakiyev, son of the then Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, whose regime was toppled in a revolution in 2010. The company was nationalised in the wake of the upheaval but the government has been seeking to re-privatise the company ever since. After a series of failures in the past seven years, it appears the government has finally surrendered on the idea.

The move confirms earlier comments by Renat Tuleberdiev, chairman of the State Property Management Fund of Kyrgyzstan, suggesting that the authorities had finally decided that the company would remain under the fund’s ownership.

In it latest attempt to sell off the mobile operator, last year, a Russian citizen, Yelena Nagornaya, who had no connection to the telecommunications sector, was the sole applicant for buying out the 100% government stake in the company.

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