Telekom Serbia’s 2020 profit 17 times less than price for EPL matches broadcast

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Source: Nova.rs/Dragan Mujan

A day after the news about 600 million euros paid by the state Telekom Serbia for broadcasting English Premier League (EPL) matches in the six years was published, the company did not say where that money came from.

Serbia has 85 percent of the Telekom stakes, and the rest belongs to the taxpayers. Still, the management doesn’t feel obliged to explain how it can allocate that sum despite its 1.5 billion euros debt in 2020, and that year’s profit of 35 million euros, or 17 times less than the 600 million it will pay to the ELP, and much more than the privately-owned United Group’s SBB has paid for the same rights which it still holds in 2021/22 season.

Telekom’s CEO Vladimir Lucic declared the deal with EPL a business secret on Tuesday but did not hide the plan to end the UG and SBB work in Serbia he had made with the Czech-owned Telenor.

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Neither the CEO of Arena Channels Group, a part of Telekom, answered that question on Wednesday nor denied the sum Belgrade independent Beta news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting its sources close to the negotiations.

The Group said the critics were bothered with the growth of the state capital in its ownership structure because that “endangers their private interests.”

The statement echoed President Aleksandar Vucic’s words that it was the company’s politics and blamed Dragan Solak, the Founder and Chairman of the UG Advisory Board, and Dragan Djilas, an opposition leader, for pumping the price in the first round of negotiations and then lost in the second.

But the company doesn’t explain that politics. Others warn it’s a wrong business move.

„Six hundred million euros is an amount which Telekom cannot confirm as a wise investment which will pay off, “ Marko Milosavljevic, a Slovenian professor, told N1.

An economic journalist Misa Brkic said that “a fantastic sum shows it doesn’t matter how much it costs. We (Telekom Serbia) will pay all it takes to destroy the competition.”