ZAGREB (Croatia), March 20 (SeeNews) - Croatia's Hrvatski Telekom (HT) [ZSE:HT-R-A] said that the tender for the sale of its 17.41% stake and the 36.90% stake held by Zagrebacka Banka [ZSE:ZABA] in Optima Telekom [ZSE:OPTE-R-A] has expired, declining to provide any details of its outcome.
"The public announcement of an international advertisement by HT represents the fulfillment of a regulatory obligation already known to the public and is not aimed at making the complete sales process public," HT said in a statement on Thursday, while announcing the expiry of the tender deadline.
Earlier this month, Hrvatski Telekom extended the tender deadline to March 18 from March 2 upon request of the Croatian Competition Agency, AZTN.
"A public sales process is not in accordance with the best practice, and could endanger the implementation of the sales process, especially considering the current market conditions. In that sense, HT is obliged to take into account the prevention of market manipulation and does not plan to make separate announcements on the sales process until it is finished," the statement reads.
At the same time, HT said it will keep informing AZTN on all relevant steps in the tender procedure because it is obliged to do so in accordance with the conditions of a June 2017 decision issued by AZTN.
HT opened the tender at the end of January in compliance with the AZTN decision, inviting bids for the 12,090,190 Optima shares it holds, and for Zagrebacka Banka's 25,625,853 Optima shares, each of 10 kuna ($1.5/1.3 euro) in par value.
Under the June 2017 AZTN decision, HT was obliged to launch the sale of Optima in January 2020 by way of international tender. In particular, it was obliged to offer for sale of its 17.4% stake, along with the right to also sell the 36.9% stake of Zagrebacka Banka in Optima, in line with a previous agreement between HT and the bank.
If there is no interest in the sale of Optima six months after its launch, or if the submitted bids are unacceptable, HT is obliged to hire an investment bank to lead the sale process.
In 2017, AZTN prolonged HT's temporary management rights over Optima by three years, until July 10, 2021.
If HT fails to complete the sale of Optima by this deadline, the telco should transfer its management rights to Zagrebacka Banka, or a third non-affiliated party, and authorise it to sell its stake in Optima.
By 10:00 CET on Friday, HT's shares traded up 2.53% at 162 kuna ($23/21 euro) on the Zagreb bourse, Optima's stocks were changing hands 4.98% higher at 4.64 kuna, while ZABA's shares traded up 2.0% at 51 kuna.
(1 euro = 7.61414 kuna)