Albtelecom sale cancelled

17 Oct 2005

The government of Albania has cancelled the planned sale of a 76% stake of Albtelecom to a Turkish consortium, claiming the process goes against national legislation and is not in the interest of the country. Calik Eneriji Telekom consortium, a joint venture between a Turkish power utility company and Turk Telekom, had previously agreed to pay USD144 million for the stake. The Albanian government has been planning the privatisation of Albtelecom for more than seven years, having announced plans to sell a stake to a strategic investor as far back as 1998, with small stakes also having set aside for national postal company Albpost, ex-landowners and Albtelecom staff. Tangible progress was slow, however, with the sale having been postponed a number of times for various reasons including the outbreak of hostilities in nearby Kosovo and the crash of the global telecoms market. In July 2004 the process was launched once more, with the state revealing plans to sell a 76% stake to qualified international investors. To make the prospect more attractive, the state awarded Albtelecom a GSM wireless licence in early 2004, which it holds via wholly owned subsidiary Eagle Mobile. According to the terms of the international tender, eligible bidders (with a net worth of at least USD300 million) were required to submit an expression of interest to the Ministry of Economy by 3 December 2004. The ministry claimed six parties had submitted documents by the due date and in June 2005 the winner was announced as the Calik Eneriji Telekom.

Albania, ALBtelecom