Wednesday, May 23, 2012 -
Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday annulled the sale of its leading mobile operator Megacom due to a lack of interest.
The Kyrgyz government had hoped to sell its 49 percent stake of the troubled state-owned communications provider on Tuesday, but only one buyer turned up.
Megacom was to have gone on the auction block with a starting price of $104 million.
Swedish mobile phone operating company TeliaSonera was the only company to show interest, the Tazabek.kg news agency reported, said the Telecompaper.com site.
Potential buyers have stayed clear of Megacom owing to an ongoing legal dispute over who actually owns shares of the remaining 51 percent stake.
Acknowledging investor concerns, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov said the sale will be suspended until the matter is settled, Tazabek reported.
Two earlier auctions had also been postponed, even though the government reduced the starting price each time.
According to a Kyrgyz parliamentary deputy Monday, President Almazbek Atambayev will not allow Megacom to go for less than $500 million.
“Kyrgyzstan’s president said if nobody buys Megacom for [at least] $500 million, then the company won’t be sold at all,” Ata-Meken party MP Erkin Alymbekov told the local 24.kg news agency.
Megacom simply needs to install transparent management, Alymbekov cited the president as saying.