Bosnian Serb government sells telecom operator to Serbian state firm

Bosnia-Herzegovina-The Bosnian Serb government said Tuesday it will sell 65 percent of its telecom operator Telekom Srpske, to the highest bidder, Serbian operator Telekom Srbija, for €646 million (US$860 million).

Telekom Srbija is owned 80 percent by the Serbian government and 20 percent by Greece’s largest telecoms operator, OTE.

The second bidder was Telekom Austria which offered €467 million (US$621 million).

Prime Minister of the Bosnian Serb mini-state, Milorad Dodik, opened the two submitted bids personally at Tuesday’s open parliament session.

“This money will have to reach every citizen. Half of it will be spent for helping employment and the social sector,” Dodik said.

Telekom Srpske is seen as the most successful company in the part of Bosnia controlled by the Bosnian Serbs and is estimated to be worth some €500 million (US$639 million), with 345,000 fixed line users and 572,000 mobile phone users.

Bosnia has two other telecommunication companies, BH Telekom and HT Mostar, which operate in the country’s other mini-state, the Muslim-Croat federation.

An international audit in 2003 found that all three Bosnian companies lose around €50 million (US$64 million) a year due to mismanagement

Source: Serbianna

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