Intracom makes first move into fixed-line services

Telecoms equipment maker Intracom, the chief supplier to Greece’s main fixed-line operator, OTE, yesterday announced a move confirming its long-declared intention to move into the telecom services sector, which would bring it into direct competition with its client. The company said it had reached an agreement to buy an 18.04 percent interest in one of the country’s main alternative fixed-line and Internet services provider, FORTHnet, for 15.26 million euros from ferry operator Minoan Lines. Sources said that negotiations are also underway for the purchase of a 12.33 percent stake in FORTHnet held by Telecom Italia, and that Intracom aims at ultimately acquiring majority control in the company. Intracom is said to have wrested the deal from another interested buyer at the last minute. The University of Crete’s Technology and Research Foundation (ITE) today owns 23 percent of FORTHnet and the Cyprus Development Bank a further 10.15 percent. The deal with Intracom is conditional on Telecom Italia not exercising the right of first refusal within three working days as of yesterday.

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