Interfax-Ukraine reports that Austrian investment group Epic, the sole bidder to come forward for a 92.8% stake in Ukrainian state-owned telco Ukrtelecom, intends to restructure the former monopoly before reselling it, according to a managing partner of Epic, Peter Goldscheider. He told the news service that Epic expects to improve Ukrtelecom’s EBITDA and increase its capitalisation. As only one bidder has come forward for the competitive privatisation auction scheduled for 28 December 2010, a tender to select an independent assessor of the state-owned stake will be held on 6 January 2011, with bids for the tender to be accepted until 30 December. A 30-day period will be given for the assessment of the stake before it will be offered to a sole candidate.
Elsewhere, the prospective new owner of Ukrtelecom may look to close down the thus-far unprofitable 3G mobile business division, Utel, according to the opinion of an analyst with Concorde Capital, Yegor Samusenko, as reported by Delo.ua. The analyst asserted that a private investor – regardless of who – would be looking to offload the mobile operation within six months. Samusenko said: ‘Initially, mobile telephony was a failed project [for Ukrtelecom]. Utel occupies a small share of the market, and cannot cover operating costs. This means that the loss-making operator will be closed [by] the new owner of Ukrtelecom … and base stations, other infrastructure, and a 3G licence may be assigned to other operators.’ Ukrtelecom is currently Ukraine’s sole holder of a 2100MHz UMTS licence.