OTE, Armenia talk about dispute over tariffs, licenses

Telecoms operator OTE is holding talks with the Armenian government aimed at resolving a dispute over tariffs and monopoly rights for its subsidiary Armentel, the company said yesterday. OTE filed an arbitration suit against the Armenian government in December in which it accused it of breaking a deal with OTE’s subsidiary Armentel. OTE owns 90 percent of Armentel and the Armenian government owns the rest. OTE had said the Armenian government decided to issue a second mobile license, even though Armentel was supposed to have exclusive rights on all voice telephony until 2013. That decision was now on hold as the two sides seek to resolve their problems, OTE said. It had previously said it plans to exit the Armenian market. «The government of Armenia has made a decision to suspend the amendment of license number 60 issued to Armentel until September 28 to facilitate the conduct of the negotiations,» OTE said in a joint statement with the Armenian government. The Greek operator bought the Armentel stake from Armenia in 1998. Armentel posted net profit of 2.4 million euros ($2.92 million) in the first quarter. OTE shares advanced 2.15 percent to 10.44 euros yesterday, outperforming the broader market which closed 1.26 percent higher. (Reuters)