Deutsche Tel seeks OTE control

Deutsche Telekom is so keen to take the helm of Greek incumbent OTE it will buy-up shares on the stock market, OTE chairman Panagis Vourloumis says.
The Greek telco’s boss predicts Deutsche Telekom will snap up as many OTE shares as it can in the open market to assume control of the carrier by 2012, and would take over sooner if it hadn’t agreed to maintain its share through 2011, national daily Kerdos reports.
"Deutsche Telekom is interested in acquiring full control of its Greek unit Hellenic Telecoms (OTE), and while the Greek government does not want to sell its stake at such low prices, DT would like the government to allow it to buy shares on the market,” Vourloumis told Greek newspaper Naftemporiki.
Deutsche Telekom currently owns 30% of OTE, but will be forced to buy shares through the Greek stock market because the government pledged to keep its 20% stake during an election campaign, Vourloumis said.
However, the government will eventually have to acquiesce, having previously agreed to gradually reduce its stake to around 5% in the long-term.
The German carrier offered a premium price for the government’s shares, and has already discussed buying up shares from the stock market, reports.
Vourloumis also said OTE would cut labor costs as part of a plan to get the firm back on track after group revenues fell 5.8% to €2.7 billion during 1H10, resulting in a loss of €24.2 million for the period compared to profit of €281.9 million in 1H09.
He revealed the firm will invest €340-450 million in fiber rollout, but quashed rumors of a merger with mobile division Cosmote.