Privatisation Package of Telekom Slovenije Worth up to EUR 1bn

03. 04. 2014

Privatisation Package of Telekom Slovenije Worth up to EUR 1bn

Investment firm Alta Invest puts the takeover value of telecoms incumbent Telekom Slovenije at around EUR 1bn, meaning that the sale of a 75% stake could raise anywhere from EUR 732m to EUR 878m, the firm's chief economist has told the STA.


"Our estimate is based on a review of similar transactions in Europe in recent times," Sašo Stanovnik, who heads the analysis department at Alta Invest, told the STA on Wednesday, after news that the sale had entered a new phase with the collection of expressions of interest.


Stanovnik anticipates that the group will garner a price of 5.5- to 6.5-times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) less net debt. The group finished last year with EBITDA of EUR 241m, while its net debt was EUR 346m.


Stanovnik believes that the sale could be completed late in the summer or in early autumn. "By all means in 2014 unless something unexpected comes up," he said, adding that complications "have happened at the last minute in the past".


He stressed that Slovenia needed to complete a privatisation process "transparently, credibly and successfully, without (political) complications" to bolster its standing among international investors.

Stanovnik would not speculate on the most suitable buyers, saying that it was impossible to tell before bids have been filed.


One possibility is selling to a European telecommunications company looking for a foothold in Slovenia and the region, while another is finding a private capital fund which would optimise operations before selling the company to a strategic investor after a few years.


He said the state should be looking to maximise the price rather than to win other guarantees. "The subsequent conformity of operations of the telco - and its owner - will be in the domain of the regulator and legislator."


Stanovnik highlighted that trading on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange has in recent months been buoyed by the expectations of privatisation. A sale of a company of the size of Telekom Slovenije would only further boost share prices.


"An important signal will be the first bids for Telekom - even if they are not binding - as they will give an indication about the takeover premium," he said.


Shares in the telco are currently trading at EUR 135, nearly 70% above its price a year ago but less than half of that during the aborted sale in 2008. The market capitalisation at the current price is EUR 875m.


Source: TheSloveniaTimes

Privatisation Package of Telekom Slovenije Worth up to EUR 1bn