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Serbian ministers divided over state telco sale on eve of decision -PM

Thu 10th December, 2015 3:22pm
* PM says opinions divided among ministers 
    * Six bids made for majority stake in Telekom Srbija 
    * PM says decision will be taken Friday 
    BELGRADE, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Serbia's government will take a 
decision on Friday on the sale of a majority stake in Telekom 
Srbija, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said, describing his 
cabinet as divided on the issue. 
    The sale has the potential to be one of the biggest since 
Serbia's emergence from international isolation with the ouster 
of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. 
    Six companies have placed binding offers for a majority 
stake in the company, including a joint offer by Slovenia's 
Telekom Slovenije  TKLM.LJ  and U.S. private equity fund Apollo, 
and Abu Dhabi investment authority (ADIA).  ID:nL1N13R08F  
    Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he needed to consult 
once more with Lazard  LAZ.N , which is acting as financial 
adviser for the sale.  
    "I'm doing this because opinions are divided among 
ministers," he told reporters, saying the final decision would 
be taken on Friday. "It's not easy to take such a decision," he 
    Vucic has said previously said he expects an offer of 1.4 
billion euros for the 58 percent stake, and that his government 
would not sell at any price. He did not specify whether 
ministers were divided over whom to sell to or over whether to 
sell at all. 
    Serbia's last attempt to sell the company, in 2011, 
collapsed when the government rejected a 1.1 billion euro ($1.2 
billion) bid by Telekom Austria  TELA.VI  for a 51 percent 
    Telekom Srbija, which is a majority stakeholder in Bosnia's 
second-largest telecoms operator Telekom Srpske  TLKM.BJ  and 
controls Montenegrin mobile operator M:Tel, employs about 8,600 
    It reported a 13 percent increase in net profit in 2014 to 
17.804 billion Serbian dinars ($158.19 million). 
    Telekom's sale is central to the Serbian government's 
efforts to reduce its footprint on the economy, prodded by the 
International Monetary Fund - with which it has a 1.2 billion 
euro standby loan deal - and the European Union, which Serbia 
wants to join. 
($1 = 0.9137 euros) 
(1 euro = 121.9851 Serbian dinars) 
 (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic and Ivana Sekularac; Editing 
by Matt Robinson and David Evans) 
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