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Telekom to Complete Overhaul by Second Half of 2011

Ljubljana, 29 September (STA) - Telekom Slovenije, the majority state-owned telecoms operator, plans to complete organisational restructuring by the second half of next year, when its mobile arm Mobitel will be merged into the parent company Telekom Slovenije, the management said Tuesday.

Telekom wants to stop the negative trend it has been seeing since 2008 and turn the curve back towards growth, board member Jozko Peterlin told the press in Ljubljana.

The group has been struggling with stagnant revenues and shrinking profit. In the first half of this year sales were up 1% year-on-year to EUR 414.3m, with net profit plunging 85% to EUR 4.3m.

The organisational restructuring will affect only the Slovenian business, but some changes may nevertheless occur in subsidiaries in the Balkans as well.

CEO Ivica Krajcevic said its ventures in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania were not key to overall group performance, so "we'll soon decide whether to hang on in these markets or focus on Kosovo and Macedonia."

He said all financial indicators in Kosovo, where its subsidiary Ipko is the no. 2 telecommunications provider, pointed to growth.

"We'll face the same competition as in other markets, but we remain optimistic since the market isn't saturated yet," Krajcevic said.

In Macedonia, meanwhile, the group has been caught between a dominant state-owned incumbent and smaller operators with aggressive pricing.

"The operation in this market will become successful, not in the short term but in a year or two," according to Krajcevic.

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