President "succumbed to pressure" during failed Telekom sale

President Aleksandar Vucic says he still regrets the failed sale just over two years ago of Serbia's state- owned telecommunications company Telekom Srbija.

Source: B92, Tanjug
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

In a wide-ranging interview for RTS late on Sunday, Vucic said his "soul still aches" over the outcome, and added that he had "succumbed to political pressure" and considered it to be his "biggest mistake."

"I should have pushed through what was better for the country, rather than listen to ignorat people's advice," Vucic said.

The attempt in December 2015 was the second that failed in five years. The highest bid for a 58 percent stake in the company did not satisfy the Serbian government.

A total of six binding bids were submitted, mostly by investment funds. The value of the best bid was not revealed, but it was said that, had it been "100 to 200 million" higher, Telekom would have probably been sold.

In 2011, the state offered 51 percent of Telekom's shares for sale, with the only bidder, Telekom Austria, offering 1.1 billion euros. Telekom's value is currently estimated at around 2.3 billion euros.

Telekom Srbija General Director Predrag Culibrk said in mid 2017 that another attempt to privatize the company was not being considered at that time.

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