Charlemagne considers Bulgarian telecoms bid

The British-based private equity fund is mulling a bid for Bulgaria’s state telecom business.

Charlemagne Capital, the UK-based private equity investor specialising in Central and Eastern European investments, is believed to be considering a possible bid for BTC, the Bulgarian state telecom monopoly.

The Bulgarian government announced in early April that it would invite firms to submit bids for up to 65 per cent of  BTC as part of a two-stage tender. Unlike the current tendering process for Czech operator Cesky Telecom, the government has not set a minimum price. Indicative offers are to be presented to the government by May 27, with bids expected to be in the region of E100m.

Deutsche Bank has been nominated to advise the Bulgarian government on the sale of BTC. The sale is expected to complete by mid-July 2002. BTC offers potential buyers access to 1.8m fixed-line subscribers. Last year the firm achieved profits of $109m on revenue of $450m.

Reuters reports a Charlemage fund official as saying 'we are very interested [in BTC] and looking into it. We are now studying the documents and a final decision is expected within two to three weeks.”

A spokesperson for Charlemagne declined to comment on speculation of a bid.