Auction for govt’s 51% stake in MTS Belarus scheduled for Dec 1

MOSCOW, Sep 7 (PRIME) — An auction to sell the Belarusian governments 51% stake in mobile operator MTS Belarus has been scheduled for December 1, a spokesperson for the countrys state property committee, which is expected to hold the auction, said, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

Bids are being accepted until November 15, the committees spokesperson said.

The starting price for the stake was not provided.

In July, the state property committees Chairman Georgy Kuznetsov said the Belarusian government estimated the value of the 51% stake in MTS Belarus at between U.S. $960 million and $970 million. Major Russian mobile operator MTS, which currently holds a 49% stake in MTS Belarus and is seeking to gain control over the Belarusian operator, offered about $400 million to $500 million for the Belarusian governments stake in MTS Belarus, but when the government requested $1 billion for the stake, MTS rejected the governments offer, Kuznetsov also said.

Meanwhile, some analysts estimated the value of a 51% stake in MTS Belarus at about $700 million.

Committee official Anna Korniyevich said in June the committee planned to put the stake up for sale at an action by the end of 2011.


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