September 7 (SeeNews) - Barring any dramatic fall in the exchange rate of the dinar currency, Telekom Srbija should post a net profit of 15 billion dinars ($230 million/161 million euro) this year, Belgrade-based media reported.
Serbia's dominant telecommunications company posted a net profit of 12.2 billion dinars in 2007, according to the latest audited consolidated results available on its website.
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Telekom Srbija raised its earnings by 26.5% on the year to 10.2 billion dinars through June, its Director General Branko Radujko told local daily Blic (www.blic.rs) in an interview over the weekend.
Commenting on the much-debated plans for the sale of the state's majority stake in Telekom Srbija, Raduijko told Blic that the only reason why the owner of a business would consider selling it would be when this business could no longer develop without a new owner. This is not the case with Telekom Srbija, which has been growing despite the current economic downturn, has been servicing its debt to the state and has been paying high dividend, he added.
Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said in early 2009 that the government should put on hold plans to sell its majority stake in Telekom Srbija as it failed to attract worthwhile bids due to the global crisis.
Radujko said no talks have been held with Deutsche Telekom, which, according to Blic, has been tipped as the most serious contender for the state's 80% stake in the telco. Greek telecoms group OTE, 30%-owned by Deutsche Telekom, controls the remaining 20% in the Serbian company.
Telekom Srbije's fixed-line operations have a 50% share in its revenue stream, its wireless division contributes 45%, while Internet and multimedia services account for the balance, Radujko said.
He added that, despite fierce competition, wireless services remains the only profitable segment, accounting for nearly all of the company's earnings.
Radujko also said the group is currently trying to fix the financial problems of its m:tel mobile operator based in Serbia's southern neighbour Montenegro, which are related to the company's very low initial capital.
"We believe we are on the right track to resolve this and stabilise financially the company which has a 28.5% share on Montenegro's wireless market, a record high for a third-placed operator."
The wireless unit of Hungary's Magyar Telekom, T-Mobile Crna Gora, and ProMonte, owned by Norway's Telenor, are the other two wireless operators doing business in Montenegro.
Telekom Srbija (www.telekom.rs) is the sole provider of fixed-line services on its home market. It also controls some 70% of the domestic mobile services market through its MTS unit.
Telekom Srbija is the majority owner of the second-largest telecoms company in neighbouring Bosnia, Telekom Srpske.
(1 euro=93.3614 Serbian dinars)
Telekom Srbija AD is among the biggest companies in SEE, for more reference take a look at Top 100 companies