ECONOMY

Seems Greek TIM will stay listed

Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) is unlikely to launch a public offer for the free float of its Greek subsidiary under the same name, due to its currently high valuation, according to an extensive report by investment bank Morgan Stanley on Italy’s main mobile operator. Morgan Stanley says that following a recent surge in the share price of Greek TIM, which is listed on the NASDAQ and the Amsterdam bourse – but not the Athens Stock Exchange – «there is room for disappointment,» especially in view of the company’s projection of capital spending of 160 million euros in 2004. The investment bank also commented that the rise in TIM’s share price vindicated its management’s decision to buy out the stake held in it by Verizon at the price of 7 euros per share last year. It added that no surprises are expected in a forthcoming meeting of analysts with the parent company, as they are well acquainted with the state of the Greek subsidiary. A basic question will be the cost of the recent change of the company’s service mark from Telestet to TIM, and the issue of competition in view of the fact that Info-Quest, the latest newcomer to the Greek mobile telephony market, under the Q Telecom service mark, has managed to capture a 5 percent market share in its first year of operation. Separately, Deutsche Bank issued a «buy» recommendation for Greece’s top mobile operator, CosmOTE, raising the target price to 14.50 euros. However, it did not rule out a fallback in the price in the near future. CosmOTE’s positive points are seen in its dividend payout, its likely absorption by parent company OTE and increased business due to the Olympic Games.