Hellenic Telecommunications (NYSE:OTE)
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Telekom Austria AG (TKA.VI) isn't interested in acquiring a minority stake in Telekom Srbija that the Serbian state is planning to sell, Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter said Thursday.
The Serbian government is planning to sell a chunk of Telekom Srbija, and according to Serbian media, Telekom Austria is being speculated to be one of the most likely buyers. The company had previously declined to comment on the issue, but Ametsreiter Thursday made it clear any interest would depend on the size of the stake being offered up for sale.
"If they sell only 40%, we are not interested," Ametsreiter said on the sidelines of an economic forum. "It would be of no interest to us to be a minority shareholder," he added.
Ametsreiter, however, declined to comment on whether the company would consider a potential bid for Telekom Srbija if the country were to privatize more than a minority share.
"If the situation changes we'll have to see. But again, we don't comment on rumors," Ametsreiter said.
Serbian media cited unnamed government sources as saying a block of shares corresponding to 51% of the total share capital could be privatized.
Telekom Srbija is currently 80% owned by Serbian state-owned infrastructure company PTT Traffic Srbija, while Greek Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, or OTE (OTE), holds a 20% stake. The Serbian state has hired Citigroup Inc. (C) to plan and handle the privatization of a large stake in the company later this year.
The country had planned to divest a 40% stake, but Citigroup has recommended that PTT Traffic sells a stake of at least 50% of the company to make the deal attractive.
-By Flemming Hansen, Dow Jones Newswires; +49 69 29725 500; firstname.lastname@example.org (Natascha Divac in Frankfurt contributed to this article.)