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Kosovo Says Five Groups Qualify for State Telecoms Company Bid

Five groups including units of Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, Portugal Telecom SGPS SA and British Telecom Poland qualified to bid for Kosovo’s state-owned Posta dhe Telekomunikacioni i Kosoves Sh.A.

The groups will be allowed to take part in the sales tender for the phone company that’s expected to begin in September, the Ministry of Economic Development said in an e-mailed statement.

Binding bids for a 75 percent stake in the company, also known as PTK, are expected in the fourth quarter, the ministry said. PTK has some 1 million mobile and 100,000 landline users in the nation of 1.8 million people. It’s Kosovo’s second attempt to sell PTK after a tender failed last year because of a corruption investigation at the Pristina-based company.

The government said in June it would only consider buyers that have provided mobile services for at least three years, with average annual revenue of at least 300 million euros ($370 million) and assets of no less than $750 million. It hasn’t set a minimum price for the company.

Three bidders including Monaco Telecom International SAM, Luxembourg-based Geni Capital and Elkos LLC from Kosovo failed to qualify, the authorities said.

The approved groups are: Portugal Telecom and Albright Capital Management LLC; Columbia Capital with ACP Axos Capital GmbH and British Telecom Poland; Turkcell; M1 International Limited; Avicena Capital with Sofrecom SA.

Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is raising funds to finance its budget and rebuild its communist-era infrastructure which was devastated in 1999 when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization drove out Serbian troops during a months-long bombing campaign.

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