Four bid for stake in Kenya state-run telcom firm

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NAIROBI, Nov 12 (Reuters) Four companies submitted bids on Monday for a 51 percent stake in Kenya's state-run Telkom Kenya.

The winner is due to be named on Friday and is expected to turn around the loss-making firm and prepare it for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

The four contenders are Reliance Communication Ltd.

of India, South Africa's Telkom , LAP Fund of Libya and a consortium led by France Telecom .

''The response to the offer has met our expectations,'' said Investment Secretary Esther Koimett at Kenya's Finance Ministry.

''We think this is very competitive.'' A fifth pre-qualified bidder, India's state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd , failed to submit a bid on time.

The successful investor will receive a controlling stake, but will have to sell 11 percent in an IPO.

Telkom Kenya has a monopoly on landline services in the east African country. Many businesses complain inefficiency and corruption has made its services too expensive.

The government will study the technical aspects of the four bids and make a shortlist of qualifiers on Thursday before the financial aspects of the bids are opened on Friday.

The government will offer another 19 percent of its remaining shares to the public in an IPO when the winning bidder offloads 11 percent in three to five years time, Koimett said.

REUTERS DKS BD1955

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