Slovenia Seeks Bids for Telekom Slovenije in Asset Sale Push

Slovenia is seeking bids for a majority stake in Telekom Slovenije d.d., the most valuable of 15 companies the government wants to sell and raise cash after a 3.2 billion-euro ($4.4 billion) bank bailout.

Slovenska Odskodninska Druzba, the agency managing state assets, is offering 75.6 percent of Telekom Slovenije with a deadline for bids set for April 23, it said in an e-mailed statement today. Telekom Slovenije’s enterprise value is 1.2 billion euros, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Adriatic nation, among the slowest in eastern Europe to sell state assets, wants to attract foreign investors to its companies and banks as it seeks to lower its debt, which has more than tripled since the adoption of the euro in 2007. Slovenia failed to sell Telekom Slovenije in 2008 as it rejected offers from two final bidders, Iceland’s Skipti HF and a partnership between Bain Capital LLC, Germany’s Axos Capital and a local Slovenian company.

“Some financial ratios and other numbers suggest current market price offers limited upside in terms of possible takeover premium,” Jernej Kozlevcar, who helps manage 530 million euros at Triglav Asset Management Co. in Ljubljana, said in an e-mail today. Possible buyers may be “telecommunication companies, which have targeted the region and have made some takeovers already in the past,” he said.

Slovenia’s debt soared to about 72 percent of gross domestic product at the end of last year from 23 percent in 2008. It is set to advance to 81 percent of GDP by the end of 2014, according to the Slovenian statistics office. The budget gap widened to about 15% of GDP last year as the government spent 3.2 billion euros to bail out unprofitable banks.

Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom AG may be interested in acquiring the Slovenian phone company, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported in February, citing unnamed Slovenian government sources.

Shares of Telekom Slovenije advanced one euro, or 0.75 percent, to 135 euros on the Ljubljana stock exchange at 12:03 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock gained 75 percent in a 12-month period, giving the company a market value of 882 million euros, data shows.

Slovenia has so far sold two companies of the 15 slated for sale, including the lender Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d. The sales of Fotona d.d., a manufacturer of medical equipment, and Helios d.d., a maker of coatings, are in their closing stages, Natasa Novak, spokeswoman for the asset-managing agency, said by phone today.

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