Temporary board appointed to TK, debt repayment deal reportedly agreed

30 Jul 2020

The Kosovo government has appointed a temporary board of directors to state owned operator Telecom Kosovo (TK), and the telco’s accounts have been unlocked, according to local press reports. The telco’s board was dismissed in February this year by the short-lived coalition government led by Albin Kurti, on the grounds of the company’s poor performance and the discovery of widespread corruption at the operator. Efforts to find a new CEO and CFO were scrapped earlier this month due to an insufficient number of qualified candidates, whilst the interim board resigned this week over disagreements in handling the company’s debt to erstwhile MVNO partner Z Mobile. The initial agreement with Z Mobile has been held up as an example of the incompetence and corruption of TK’s leadership, with TK’s staff blaming the company’s current financial struggles on the original 2009 partnership deal with Z Mobile. When the agreement expired in July last year TK opted not to renew or extend the deal and the MVNO closed down in November that year. In early 2019 Z Mobile had begun pressuring TK to pay around EUR25.9 million (USD30.4 million) it said was outstanding from an international arbitration case it had won in 2016, the legality of which was challenged by TK employees and government officials. Earlier this month, however, a Pristina court approved a debt execution order from Z Mobile, allowing the company to collect debts totalling EUR26.7 million from TK, and locking the latter’s accounts. A debt repayment agreement is understood to have been signed with the MVNO this week, however, with Kosova Press citing the environment and economy minister as saying that an agreement had been reached to unblock the telco’s accounts, allowing it resume paying employee salaries, amongst other things.

Kosovo, Dardafon (Z Mobile), Telecom Kosovo (TK, Vala)