TIRANA (Albania), October 9 (SeeNews) – Albania’s government prefers that Serbian businesses do not enter its strategic telecommunications sector, prime minister Edi Rama said on Tuesday, following the expression of interest of state-run Telekom Serbia towards acquisition of Telekom Albania.
“The Albanian government's stance is very simple and clear. Serbian businesses are welcome to the Republic of Albania, but they are not preferred in this strategic sector,” PM Rama said in a statement.
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The government will not be part of a possible transaction of Deutsche Telekom for the sale of its subsidiary in Albania, Rama said, adding that the German group is pursuing a plan to withdraw from small markets - not only in Albania.
“But this is a strategic sector and, of course, the Albanian government is being asked to give an opinion by those who are interested,” he added.
On Sunday, Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic said that the opposition to Telekom Serbia’s bid for Telekom Albania sends a wrong message that foreign investors are not welcome in Albania, according to Albanian media reports.
“I heard from the representatives of Telekom Serbia that we gave the best offer, but that the telecommunications minister of Albania said that Serbia cannot buy Telekom Albania,” Tirana-based Klan TV quoted Vucuc.
Last week, Albania's government said it does not welcome the potential entry of state-run Telekom Serbia in its telecommunications market through the purchase of Telekom Albania, Tirana-based media reported.
Although a decision lies with the companies, the entry of Telekom Serbia in the Albania’s telecommunications market may bring reactions that could negatively affect the company itself, Top Channel TV station quoted Albanian government sources as saying, following a meeting of representatives of the Serbian company with Albanian infrastructure ministry officials.
The Albanian government prefers investors with a different profile in this highly sensitive strategic sector but remains open to Serbian investments in all areas of the economy, the sources said.
The government cannot stop a deal between Telekom Albania and Telekom Serbia if the two companies reach an agreement, because it has no ownership rights in Telekom Albania, according to the sources.
Deutsche Telekom, indirect owner of Telekom Albania through Greece's OTE group, is considering the possibility of leaving Albania, Top Channel said. Two Bulgarian companies and Telekom Serbia have entered the race for the acquisition of Telekom Albania, with the Serbian company reportedly in an advantageous position, according to the media report. Top Channel did not mention the names of the Bulgarian companies.
Telekom Serbia has confirmed that it has placed a bid for the acquisition of Telekom Albania, according to Serbian media reports.
Telekom Serbia's interest in buying the second largest operator in Albania proves its intention to become a regional leader in the telecommunications sector, public broadcaster RTS quoted sources from Telekom Serbia as saying.
Telekom Srbija AD is among the biggest companies in SEE, for more reference take a look at Top 100 companies