Armenia May Change Conditions of ArmenTel Tender

YEREVAN (Reuters)–The government of Armenia may change conditions of the international tender for selling off telecommunications joint venture Armentel–an official from the Finance and Economy Ministry said Thursday.

"We are considering a new model for the sale…selling off not all 100 percent but 90 percent stake of the company," Ashot Manukyan–who heads the ministry’s secretariat–told Reuters.

He said the new plan envisaged selling a 49 percent stake held by Transworld Telecommunications Inc. of the United States and 41 percent held by the government.

Manukyan said any stake left after the sale would probably be held by the government or other strategic investors might take an interest.

He said the government had not taken any final decision on the sale and would do so only after negotiations with Transworld.

The Armenian government did not specify the bidders but Greek telecoms group OTE says it and France Telecom have made a joint bid.

The government said only it was in talks "with a European consortium and an American telecommunications company." The government has already twice delayed announcing the results of the tender for which bids closed on August 15.

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