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Telenor, Telekom Austria prepare bids for Bosnian phone company

Norway's Telenor ASA (the owner of Hungary’s Pannon), Telekom Austria AG, Russia's Sistema Telecom and Telekom Srbija of Serbia are among 11 companies that have expressed interest in bidding for Telekom Srpske, a state-owned Bosnian phone company. The four phone operators have bought tender documents as of yesterday, Bosnia's Banja Luka stock exchange said in a statement posted on its Web site yesterday. The deadline for submission of financial bids is Oct. 4. Companies that have expressed interest and haven't purchased the documents as of yesterday include Deutsche Telekom AG's Magyar Telekom Nyrt unit, France Telecom SA, Orascom Telecom Holding SAE of Egypt and Finland's Elisa Oyj, the stock exchange said. Novator of Iceland, Switzerland's Valiva AG and PlanetSky of Cyprus have also expressed interest, according to the statement. Telekom Austria, the largest phone company in Austria, said as recently as Aug. 25 it plans to bid for Telekom Srpske. Telekom Austria CFO Stefano Colombo said on that day that the operator is worth between € 500 million ($641 million) and € 600 million. Telekom Srpske employs 2,400 people and had earnings before interest, taxes and amortization of € 75 million in 2004 on sales of about € 165 million. The company has about 572,000 wireless customers and 345,000 fixed-line clients, Telekom Austria said on Aug. 23. Vienna-based Raiffeisen Investment AG is managing the sale. (Bloomberg)