Polkomtel loses bidders as profits grow

Two companies backed out of the race to acquire Polkomtel, Poland’s second largest mobile operator, on the same day the carrier revealed net profits grew 13.2% in 2010.
The operator yesterday revealed 2010 profits of 1.1 billion Polish zlotys (€276 million) and a 6% increase in EBITDA to 2.8 billion zlotys, on stable revenues of 7.6 billion zlotys – down a marginal 1.3% on 2009.
Polkomtel claims the figures give it the largest share of mobile revenues and EBITDA of all mobile operators in the country, at 30.9% and 36.9% respectively, and contributed to a record 60% hike in cash flow to 1.8 billion zlotys.
However, the operator’s subscriber base barely increased during the year, growing by just 18,000.
While that low growth could have prompted the retraction of the two bids by unnamed carriers, Polkomtel deputy chief Krzysztof Kilian told Bloomberg he is hopeful the move means those carriers are now teaming up to offer higher bids than they could individually.
Current owners Vodafone, oil group PKN Orlen and copper mine operator KGHM Polska Miedz are seeking over $5 billion (€3.5 billion) for the firm, the news site states. TeliaSonera, one of the original seven bidders shortlisted, told the site it was still in the running to acquire the firm, which is to be sold during 1H11.
Vodafone last year placed Polkomtel under the direct control of chief executive Vittorio Colao as part of a shake-up of its global businesses.