OTE stake sold as sell-off race gets started

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

The Greek gov­ern­ment has agreed to sell a 10 per­cent stake in OTE tele­com to Ger­many’s Deutsche Telekom, kick­ing off ef­forts to meet goals set in the coun­try’s am­bi­tious pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram.

The Bonn-based com­pany said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that Greece ex­er­cised a put op­tion to sell a 10 per­cent stake in OTE for around 400 mil­lion eu­ros.

Once the shares have

been trans­ferred as part of the put op­tion, the Greek state will hold 10 per­cent plus one vote in OTE, with Deutsche Telekom own­ing 40 per­cent plus one vote.

Greece has been un­der grow­ing pres­sure to get its sell-off pro­gram off the ground af­ter fall­ing be­hind in its re­forms agenda and miss­ing tar­gets set in its 2011 bud­get.

The gov­ern­ment is aim­ing to raise 50 bil­lion eu­ros by re­duc­ing stakes in state as­sets in­clud­ing Hel­lenic Post­bank and the Thes­sa­loniki Wa­ter & Sewage (EYATH) to pay down debt.

Ac­cord­ing to the put op­tion agree­ment be­tween Greece and Deutsche Telekom, the shares will be priced at a 15 per­cent pre­mium to av­er­age price lev­els seen in the last 20 days.

“Based on Fri­day’s clos­ing price, the [sale price] stands at 7.97 eu­ros per share, im­ply­ing a to­tal con­sid­er­a­tion of about 391 mil- lion eu­ros, ” Pro­ton Re­search said in a note.

Shares in OTE fell 3.23 per­cent to 6.89 eu­ros yes­ter­day, push­ing its mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion to 3.3 bil­lion eu­ros, ver­sus a 0.78 per­cent drop in the broader mar­ket.

Since 2008 Deutsche Telekom has spent 3.8 bil­lion eu­ros on OTE, South­east Europe’s big­gest tele­phone op­er­a­tor, to ex­pand its foot­print in Greece, Ro­ma­nia, Bul­garia and Al­ba­nia.

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