The sale of Telekom Albania has attracted interest from Serbian state-owned Telekom Srbija, PPF Group of the Czech Republic and Bulgaria’s Vivacom, Vecernje Novosti reports. The paper cites Telekom Srbija as saying that the move demonstrates the company’s intention to ‘become a regional leader in telecommunications,’ although the firm was unable to provide any further details as they were still considering their own offer and those of its competing bidders. Telekom Srbija’s current international footprint includes facilities-based operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo as well as MVNO m:tel Austria, and the group is understood to be one of the Balkan state’s most profitable companies. Telekom Srbija’s expansion into Albania would also represent the first major Serbian investment in Albania in years, amidst tense political relations over Kosovo, the Tirana Times notes. For its part, meanwhile, PPF Group has similar regional ambitions: the group completed its takeover of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) assets of Norwegian group Telenor earlier this year – including units in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia – and was reported to have entered a bid for United Group – which has operations in Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina – in August, although that proved unsuccessful, with BC Partners agreeing to purchase the company in late September.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Telekom Albania represented 36.5% of the Albanian mobile market at the end of June 2018, claiming second place behind market leader Vodafone Albania, which served 48.0% of the nation’s wireless subscribers at that date. The operator is 99.76%-owned by Greece’s OTE via Cosmote’s COSMO-Holding Albania. OTE is in turn 40%-owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.