It’s been another dispiriting week for foreign investors in Kyrgyzstan.
On November 25, the auction of the government’s 49 percent stake in Alfa Telecom failed when only one buyer came forward. The auction is the latest stumble for a privatization program that has done little but draw attention to the lack of investor confidence in Kyrgyzstan’s political and legal stability.
As anticipated, investors balked at a nearly $100 million purchase that would come encumbered with heavy political baggage – the government owns Alfa shares because the company was closely tied to the son of ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev – and a host of pending lawsuits over Alfa’s ownership. (Alfa is the parent company of Megacom, the country's largest mobile provider.)
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