TA seen in pole position for Serb snatch

Telekom Austria (TA) are considered favourites to take over a majority stake in Telekom Srbija.The Austrian company confirmed today (Fri) it has been looking at the tender papers for the planned sale of a 50 per cent interest in the Serbian telecommunications provider.France Telecom, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom are also interested in acquiring a majority in the state-owned company. The stake on offer is valued between 1.5 and three billion Euros and expected to be sold next month.Business newspapers have suggested TA had the best chances despite its interest in Kosovan company PTK. Recent news that the Austrian market leader was eyeing up a 75 per cent stake in PTK has reportedly angered some Serbian decision-makers since the many representatives of the country refuse to accept Kosovo’s independence.TA said earlier this month that it was to completely take over leading Belarusian mobile communications firm Velcom. TA, which has 16,000 employees and more than 21 million customers across Europe, announced that it had finalised the purchase of 100 per cent of the Minsk-based company. TA acquired 70 per cent for 730 million Euros three years ago.The Austrian company looks back on a rather unsatisfying first half of this year as earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) declined year on year by 14.2 per cent to 300.5 million Euros. Turnover also fell by 1.9 per cent to 1.169 billion Euros.