TA ‘interested in Telekom Srbija’

Telekom Austria (TA) is engaged in a bidding war for Serb telecommunications firm Telekom Srbija, according to reports.Belgrade daily Politika claims today (Fri) that the Austrian market leader has interest in taking a 50 per cent stake in the company from the Serb government. The report also has it that Germany’s Deutschen Telekom, Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom and Swedish Telia Sonera are challenging TA’s undisclosed bid with own offers.The Republic of Serbia holds 50 per cent in the domestic market leader worth around 3.2 billion Euros and is trying to sell a 50 per cent stake. The Serb finance ministry recently said its aim was to finalise the process within the next five months.TA, which was unable to comment about the reports today, announced earlier this week earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) had dropped by 14.2 per cent to 300.5 million Euros year on year in the first half of this 2010. It added that turnover had shrunk by 1.9 per cent to 1.169 billion Euros in the same period.The Vienna-based firm has 16,000 staff and more than 21 million customers in Austria and eight other European countries.Labour union representatives recently expressed fears TA might make hundreds of landline specialists redundant due to slumping demand for products and services in that sector.