Telekom Srbija not to be sold ‘at any cost’

6 May 2014

Serbia’s minister of trade and telecommunications Rasim Ljajic has told press that the state will not renew its efforts to privatise Telekom Srbija unless the government is convinced that the process will be completed, noting that ‘another unsuccessful attempt would have devastating economic consequences’. News portal b92.net quotes the minister as saying: ‘Telekom will not be sold at any cost, as an economic, because that would not solve our problems and also because we do not want to give up a company with real growth potential.’ It was previously announced that the Telekom Srbija sale would take place within 100 days of the inauguration of Serbia’s new government, amidst promises from the new PM to introduce a raft of economic reforms, including cuts in public sector spending and the privatisation of a number of state-owned entities.

Ljajic stressed that Telekom’s value is decreasing due to problems affecting all operators in the region, denying suggestions that the telco was struggling due to the fact that it contributes a portion of its profits to state coffers rather than reinvesting the funds. The minister also suggested that the sale has been put on the back-burner, noting: ‘We will see how other telecommunications companies in the region do, such as the Slovenian operator [Telekom Slovenije] which is also about to be sold.’

Serbia, Telekom Srbija (MTS)