The government of Kyrgyzstan is planning to auction off its shares in Alpha Telecom, which operates under the Megacom brand, with a starting price of KGS18 billion-KGS19 billion (USD241 million-USD254 million), according to local news agency 24.kg. The report cites Almazbek Kadyrkulov, Head of the State Property Management Fund, as saying that the government made its decision in 2015, assessing the value of the company at the end of June that year. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Pankratov commented: ‘It is necessary to avoid problems with corruption issues. As a result, we will find an investor, who will not only save the company, but ensure its development, and the state will not lose tax base. In market conditions, the state should not have commercial assets in the areas with sufficient competition.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Megacom was established, and until late 2009 owned, by BiMoCom, itself majority-owned by Russian-owned and Cyprus-registered Eventis Telecom affiliate Penwell Business. Following subsequent disputes, the government took full control of Megacom in July 2014. The company operates 2G and 3G networks with a total 98% coverage and 2.89 million subscribers as at end-September 2015.