OTE to de­cide next week on Ro­ma­nian bid

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

Hel­lenic Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Or­ga­ni­za­tion SA, known as OTE, will de­cide by the end of next week whether to bid for Ro­ma­nia’s 46 per­cent stake in for­mer phone mo­nop­oly Romt­ele­com SA, Ro­ma­nian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Va­le­rian Vreme said. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of OTE, Romt­ele­com’s ma­jor­ity-owner, and Deutsche Telekom AG, OTE’s big­gest share­holder, met with Ro­ma­nian of­fi­cials yes­ter­day in Bucharest to as­sess the coun­try’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions mar­ket. They will de­cide whether to buy the stake or work with the state to sell it through the Bucharest Stock Ex­change, Vreme told re­porters af­ter the meet­ing. “Our in­ter­est is to get the best price,” he said. Ro­ma­nia, which has re­ceived two loans from the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund and the Euro­pean Union, plans to sell the Romt­ele­com stake and 9.8 per­cent of oil com­pany OMV Petrom SA, to boost rev­enue. Michael Tsamaz, OTE’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, con­firmed that the com­pany will send a pro­posal to the Ro­ma­nian gov­ern­ment by the end of next week. OTE, Greece’s big­gest phone com­pany, will of­fer 400 mil­lion eu­ros ($570 mil­lion) to ac­quire the Romt­ele­com stake, the Imerisia news­pa­per re­ported yes­ter­day, with­out cit­ing any­one. Last Novem­ber, Vreme said Ro­ma­nia’s gov­ern­ment will wait for the “right mo­ment” to sell the stake if OTE doesn’t bid. He then val­ued the gov­ern­ment’s por­tion of the com­pany at 1 bil­lion eu­ros. (Bloomberg) pub­lic fi­nances, bring­ing its bud­get deficit down to the EU limit of 3 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct in 2013. The deficit was equal to 9.1 per­cent of GDP last year. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Fer­nando Teix­eira dos Santos said on Tues­day that Por­tu­gal ex­pected to pay an av­er­age in­ter­est rate of 5.1 per­cent on the 78-bil­lion-euro bailout funds. A first in­stall­ment of 18 bil­lion was ex­pected by the end of May or be­gin­ning of June, he added. Euro­pean fi­nance min­is­ters on Mon­day backed the debt res­cue on con­di­tion Lis­bon em­barks on a ma­jor pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram. risks than ben­e­fits, Peter West­away, chief Euro­pean econ­o­mist at No­mura In­ter­na­tional Plc, said yes­ter­day. “The ben­e­fits of a hair­cut in Greece are ex­ag­ger­ated and the risks un­der­es­ti­mated,” West­away said at a con­fer­ence in Athens. “Talk of re­struc­tur­ing is a dis­trac­tion from get­ting Greece’s fis­cal pol­icy back on track.” He said the most likely op­tion for Greece was an ex­ten­sion of fi­nan­cial aid to 2015 and said a reschedul­ing or re­pro­fil­ing of Greece’s debt “is a way of buy­ing time, that is some­thing we fa­vor.” The risk of any Greek re­struc­tur­ing would be that of con­ta­gion for Ire­land and Por­tu­gal, West­away said. While Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion stands at a crit­i­cal junc­ture “there’s strong po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment in Europe to keep the show on the road, which in­vestors over­seas don’t un­der­stand.” (Bloomberg)

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