African Telcom LAPGreenN Bids for Telekom Serbia
The Serbian government is offering a 40% stake in the state-owned telco to the highest bidder according to media reports. The government today holds 80% of Telekom while the balance is held by OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation), a Greek telecommunications company.
The decision to put Telekom Serbia, one of the most profitable Balkan companies on the market was announced in March. A press statement from LAPGreenN's Ugandan headquarters said the company's managing director, Engineer Abdulbaset Elazzabi, met with the Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetkovi to discuss LAPGreen's interest in buying a major stake in Telecom Serbia.
The meeting was a follow up to a meeting held earlier this year between Cvetkovi and Baghdadi Mahmudi, the Prime Minister of Libya. During the meeting, the Serbian Prime Minister welcomed LAPGreenN's participation in the public tender and assured Eng. Elazzabi that the Serbian Government was committed to a fair and transparent process.
Should LAPGreenN beat the other bidders to the deal, the purchase of Telekom Serbia would be the first of several international telecom acquisitions outside of Africa that LAPGreenN is currently reviewing."LAPGreenN believes Telekom Serbia would be a valuable addition to its existing holdings," the statement reads in part.
LAPGreenN will have to beat off competition from some of the world's telecom majors who include Deutsche Telecom, Telefonica of Spain, Turk Telecom and Egypt's Orascom who have all bid for the stake.
Germany's Deutsche Telecom, which already has a presence in neighbouring Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia and Montenegro - currently owns 20% of Telekom Serbia through its subsidiary, the Greek operator Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).Currently, 80 percent of Telekom Serbia is owned by the state, with 27 percent of the company split between employees and citizens of Serbia. According to media reports, with the expected sale, every Serb over the age of 18 will receive money or shares they can sell. LAPGreenN already owns or controls telecom companies and licences in eight African countries including Uganda, Niger, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Southern Sudan, Zambia, Togo and Sierra Leone. It currently has a capital fund in excess of US$5 billion.