A consortium of four investors has won a tender for the government’s 78% stake in Kyrgyzstan’s state-owned incumbent telco Kyrgyztelecom (KT), local news agency AKIpress reports, citing State Property Minister Tursun Turdumambetov. The consortium members, which include Investment Company of Kazakhstan, Cypriot companies Nimisco Holdings and Colimar Holdings, and local firm Ala-Too Keni Company, have offered USD40 million for the shareholding and have pledged to invest USD200 million in the fixed line operator. Organisers of the tender reportedly received a total of six applications for the stake, including bids from interested parties in Turkey, Russia and Germany. KT’s other shareholders include the country’s social fund (12.51%), the company’s employees (5%), individual investors (3.65%) and management (1%).
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the privatisation of KT has been on the government’s agenda for the last decade, with the hope that increased foreign investment would help Kyrgyzstan’s fixed line market achieve its full potential. A number of previous attempts to sell KT have failed; the latest saw the state’s 77.84% stake put up for sale in June 2008, with the expectation of raising over USD45 million. In July that year Turkey’s Turk Telekom declared that it was considering bidding for the stake, adding that it had formed a working group with parent company Oger Telecom to evaluate whether to proceed. However, two months later Turk Telekom was barred from participating after it failed to pay a required security deposit by the deadline. Two other interested parties, Rostelecom of Russia and Germany’s Axos Capital, were also excluded.