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Tbilisi Sale Continues2009-11-25 16:52
The Georgian government is continuing to sell property created in Soviet times. This week "Zheleznodorozhny Telecom" was sold for a price that was five million dollars less than it was planned in summer. A thousand and a half items are awaiting their turn.
As for the economic sphere, Georgia has never deviated from the course announced by the Minister Kakha Bendukidze some time ago. It continues getting rid of public items, selling them to foreign investors more and more often. Unfortunately, the sellers are not interested what they will do there: develop the production or destroy it, as it is happening to the «Rustavi Metallurgical Plant».
The only thing that has changed lately is the fact that Russian companies are not admitted to auctions.
Thus, since spring it has been rumoured that Rostelecom was interested in the Georgian «Telecom Zheleznykh Dorog» (Railway Telecom)». At the same time some rumours on the possible acquisition of the whole Georgian railway (GZhD), from which Telecom was generated.
Then the opposition made such a big deal of the surrender of strategic items to «Enemy No. 1» that the authorities had to публично deny these rumours.
As a result, the privatization of GZD was postponed so far. And the auction for Railway Telecom took place today. Russian investors did not even declare their desire to invest into Georgian business, frightened by the inimical rhetoric.
As a result, only two investors contested the company: Georgian «New Networks» and Dutch «Linxtelecom». The absence of competition and the crisis led to the fact that the initial lot price of 14144800 dollars raised just by a couple of hundreds of dollars.
So Dutchmen won offering just 14 344 800 dollars. And in summer the ex Minister of Economic Development of Georgia Lasha Zhvania said that «the initial price of Railway Telecom can be about 20 mln. dollars».
«Linxtelecom» is an international telecom company present in Russia, Baltic countries, Belarus, the Caucasus, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Western Europe and even the US. None of the Linxtelecom shareholders have a controlling block of shares.
According to the auction terms, the Dutchmen undertake to lay optical fibre cables along the railway within the 40-cm string provided to Telecom, specifies the «Business of Georgia». A couple of cables shall be returned as GZGD property. This is how it should be ideally. What will the Telecom sale bring to? Only time can show what the Telecom sale lead to.