PTK, not sold!

Today is the deadline for contract signature between the Government of Kosovo and Hamburg-based ACP Axos Capital Gmbh and the US-based private investment firm Najafi Companies, which were selected as the highest bidders for 75% stake of the Post and Telecom Company (PTK), with an offer of 277 million euros. The contract looks like it’s not going to happen.

The completion of the sales has been announced in April, while the contract signature was supposed to happen within 60 days, which should have been mid-June. The signing of the contract didn’t happen and the Government of Kosovo gave the consortium 13th of August as a final chance to sign the contract and close the deal, but things don’t look good. Two weeks ago, Robert Woog, head of the Axos/Najafi Consortium stated that “We are in Kosovo, and we want to close the deal, while everything is going according to plan.

We will invest up to 150 million in the first 5-6 years of operations. We want to invest in the technology and human resources since we want to continue to be number one”. But the promised millions are nowhere to be found.

PTK’s trade union has strongly opposed the sale, staging protests alongside unions from other state companies going under the hammer amidst fears that privatization will lead to job losses. A previous attempt to sell a stake in PTK was cut short after senior officials from the company were accused of entering into harmful contracts, abusing official position[s] and misuse of economic authorizations by prosecutors from the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX).

PTK is accounted to have around 1,100,000 mobile customers through Vala, while its biggest competitor is IPKO Telecom, 75% of which is owned by Telekom Slovenije, and which just recently announced that it has reached over 500,000 customers. There is still no 3G network in Kosovo.