Kosovo’s government has decided to postpone the controversial sale of state-owned telco Post and Telecommunication Kosovo (PTK) until its performance and value improve, news portal DTT-Net reports. The previous government’s attempt to privatise the operator ended in failure in January 2014 after politicians boycotted the decision in the national assembly, leaving the coalition government without a quorum. Pristina had agreed to sell a 75% stake in PTK to an Axos Capital-led consortium for EUR277 million (USD301.6 million) but critics of the plan claimed that the sale process had not been transparent and undervalued the telco, whilst concerns over potential job losses had led to a fierce public backlash against the deal.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, an earlier attempt to privatise PTK fell through in 2011 after two of the telco’s senior officials were accused of entering into harmful contracts, abusing official position[s] and misuse of economic authorisations’ by prosecutors from the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX). Although the officials were subsequently acquitted in July 2013, the prospective bidders were put off by the development and threatened to pull out of the auction. With the sale compromised by the corruption allegations, the government opted to scrap the tender in October 2011.