DT eyes remaining 10 pct stake Greece holds in OTE

By Vangelis Mandravelis

Deutsche Telekom is expressing renewed interest in acquiring the 10 percent stake in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) that belongs to the Greek state.

On Thursday Timotheus Hoettges, the new head of the German telecom giant, which currently holds 40 percent of the Greek telecommunications provider, met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the management of OTE and reportedly told them that a new acquisition would be beneficial to DT.

Hoettges informed Samaras about the German group’s strategy on telecom growth internationally, as well as plans for the development of the OTE group in Greece with the realization of investments totaling 1.2 billion euros in the next four years.

“For us, OTE constitutes an investment of strategic significance with long-term prospects,” the head of the German company said as he left the prime minister’s office. He added that OTE “has achieved its operation transformation into a high-performance company with healthy financial figures and low borrowing.”

Samaras lauded DT’s investment in Greece, branding it the “tangible confidence” of a major international group in the Greek economy.

OTE officials qualified Hoettges’s contacts in Athens as acquaintance meetings, but many people in the know are beginning to discern an agreement between the government and the German company concerning the remaining Greek holding in OTE, which amounts to 10 percent and belongs to the state and the Social Security Foundation (IKA). Speaking to some 400 OTE officials, Hoettges made no secret of his intentions, saying that “the 40 percent [stake] does not constitute a prospect for the future.”