Slovak telecom tender delayed to April at earliest

The Slovak Communications Ministry said on February 2 that a tender for a stake in the state telephone company Slovenské Telekomunikácie (ST) would not be launched before April 1. Last month, the ministry said it would launch the tender for a stake in ST by January 15.

"So far, the tender could not start because the company (ST) has not been yet transformed into a joint stock company from its current state enterprise status," a ministry press aide said. She said the transformation of ST into a 100% state-owned joint stock company, the legal status allowing for the company's selloff, should be completed by April 1. She would not elaborate on the reasons for delay in the process.

No details of the tender have yet been released. However, the ministry said previously it was considering holding on to a 34% stake in the fixed line monopoly with the rest up for negotiation and possible sale. ST had assets of 41.3 billion crowns ($1.09 billion) at the end of 1997.

On January 18, the ministry launched an international tender for a 15-year licence to operate an 1800 MHz mobile phone system. The licence was expected to be granted on April 30.

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