Citigroup offers Mobtel financial advice

19 Apr 2004

The Serbian finance ministry has said that Citigroup is keen to assist in the sale of the state’s holding in GSM operator Mobtel, once a dispute between majority stakeholder Bogoljub Karic and the government has been resolved. The state currently holds 49% of Mobtel but has spent the last year trying to up its stake and take control of the operator away from local tycoon Karic, who owns the remaining 51%. Karic founded the operator in tandem with the government under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic in 1994. Serbia’s capital investments minister Velimir Ilic said last month that the state – which also has control of rival cellco MTS 064 – must dispose of its Mobtel stake by May 2005. Once it has the majority stake, the government plans to sell to a foreign investor, with financial guidance from Citigroup. The ministry is hoping that the ownership dispute will be settled shortly so that a sale can take place before the end of this year; it says that Deutsche Telekom is among the list of potential buyers.