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UPDATE 1-Serbia rejects all offers for telecoms provider

Fri 11th December, 2015 4:50pm
* Serbian PM says bids for Telekom Srbija fell short 
    * Second major failed privatisation this year 
    * Second time government rejects bids for telecoms provider 
 
 (Adds more quotes, details, background) 
    By Aleksandar Vasovic 
    BELGRADE, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Serbia's government on Friday 
rejected as too low all offers for a majority stake in telecoms 
provider Telekom Srbija, the second major privatisation attempt 
to fail in the Balkan country this year. 
    Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic did not say what the bids 
were, only that they fell short of what the government and 
unions had hoped for. 
    "I am not happy with this decision. I wish we had a better 
price," Vucic told a news conference, without naming the six 
bidders.  
    He said the government may decide to offer a package of 
minority shares on the stock market. 
    The sale of Telekom Srbija was central to a government drive 
to relax its influence on the local economy, a commitment made 
to the International Monetary Fund under a 1.2 billion euro 
standby loan agreement and to the European Union, which Serbia 
wants to join.  
    The government has already seen the failure of a tender this 
year to sell the state's sole steel mill in Smederevo south of 
Belgrade. 
    A previous Serbian government in 2011 rejected a 1.1 billion 
euro bid by Telekom Austria  TELA.VI  for a 51 percent stake in 
Telekom Srbija.  
    Vucic's government had offered 58 percent and was targeting 
bids of around 1.4 billion euros. 
    The company employs around 8,600 people and reported a 13 
percent rise in net profit last year to 17.8 billion Serbian 
dinars ($158.2 million). 
    Telekom Srbija is a majority stakeholder in Bosnia's 
second-largest telecom operator, Telekom Srpske  TLKM.BJ , and 
controls Montenegrin mobile operator M:Tel.  
 
 (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Writing by Ivana Sekularac; 
Editing by Matt Robinson and Mark Potter) 
 ((ivana.sekularac@thomsonreuters.com; +381 11 30 44 930; 
Reuters Messaging: 
ivana.sekularac.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) 
 
Keywords: SERBIA TELEKOM/
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