According to reports in the Austrian news agency APA, Telekom Austria is close to finalising the purchase of a 70% stake in Cypriot-based SB Telecom, which itself acquired 100% of Belarusian mobile operator Mobile Digital Communication (MDC) last month. The deal could be completed as early as 2 October if the supervisory board of Telekom Austria approves it. It is understood that the remaining 30% has been sold to the Austrian investor Martin Schlaff, known for his connections with governments in some European countries.
On 22 August MDC, which offers services under the brand names Velcom and Privet, became a ‘foreign private unitary enterprise’, after SB Telecom acquired 100% control of the company. Until that date Velcom was a Belarus/Cypriot joint venture owned by the government of Belarus (30.9%), SB Telecom (49%), Beltechexport (20%) and national PTO Beltelecom (0.1%). The state’s share in Velcom was valued at between USD300 million and USD500 million.