Albanian government against Telekom Serbia acquiring Telekom Albania

“The Albanian Government’s position is simple and clear – Serbian businesses are welcome to Albania, but this is not our preference in strategic sectors like telecommunications,” Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama said at a press conference, following the allegations that the Albanian government did not support the idea of Telekom Albania, owned by German Deutsche Telekom, being sold to Telekom Serbia.

Telekom Serbia, which is 58.11-percent-owned by the Republic of Serbia, confirmed at the end of September that they submitted a bid for the purchase of Telekom Albania, the second-largest telecommunications operator in that country.

“The Albanian government will not be part of a possible transaction carried out by Deutsche Telekom, i.e. the sale of its subsidiary in Albania”, Rama said, adding that the German group is pursuing a plan to withdraw from small markets – not only in Albania.

“But this is a strategic sector and, of course, the Albanian government is being asked to give an opinion to those who are interested,” he added.

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On Sunday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that opposition to Telekom Serbia’s bid for Telekom Albania sent a wrong message that foreign investors were not welcome in Albania.

“I heard from the representatives of Telekom Serbia that we gave the best offer, but that the Albanian telecommunications minister said that Serbia cannot buy Telekom Albania,” Vucic said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg in Belgrade.

Last week, Albania’s government said it did not welcome the potential entry of the state-run Telekom Serbia to its telecommunications market through the purchase of Telekom Albania, the Tirana-based media reported.

The government cannot stop a deal between Telekom Albania and Telekom Serbia if two companies reach an agreement, because it has no ownership rights in Telekom Albania, according to sources.

Following the confirmation that they had an intention to purchase Telekom Albania, Telekom Serbia also said that they “have a goal to position themselves as a regional leader in telecommunications”, while Serbian government officials said that the plans of Telekom Serbia were “a very logical and justified move”.

Telekom Serbia has been present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or rather one of its entities the Republic of Srpska, since 2007, where it owns 65 per cent of Telekom Srpska from Banja Luka, covering the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Also, Telekom Serbia owns 51% of M:tel d.o.o. Podgorica from Montenegro.

(Radio Free Europe, 09.10.2018)


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