ECONOMY

Intracom wins Saudi deal, more of Forthnet

Greek telecoms equipment maker Intracom said yesterday its Middle Eastern arm has won a $22.2 million contract to build and operate a communications network for Saudi Arabia’s Integrated Telecom Company (ITC). The contract is for two years, Greece’s largest provider of telecoms, information technology and electronic defence systems said in a statement. ITC provides telecoms services in the Middle East, Intracom added. Separately, Intracom raised its stake in Internet service provider and telecoms operator Forthnet to 22.55 percent as part of its expansion into the telecoms market, it said in a separate statement. Forthnet shares rose 5 percent on the news. Earlier, a source close to the deal said a subsidiary of Telecom Italia sold its 4.39 percent stake in Forthnet to two other shareholders; 2.05 percent to Intracom and 2.34 percent to the Foundation for Technology and Research. «Intracom confirms it acquired 2.05 percent of Forthnet from Mediterranean Nautilus as part of the company’s strategy to expand into the telecoms sector,» the company said. It did not disclose the price paid. Intracom Chief Executive Officer Giorgos Deliyiannis told institutional investors last week, «As a holding company, we aim for greater flexibility in carrying out the development plans we have for each of the sectors in which we are active.» Forthnet had a market value of around 124 million euros at the end of last week. «The merger and acquisition activity is driving Forthnet up,» said Egnatia Finance analyst George Papangelis. Athens bourse data in early August showed the foundation owned about 23 percent of Forthnet before the purchase of the additional shares. Last week, Telecom Italia sold a 6.27 percent stake in Forthnet to Icelandic venture capital firm Novator. (Reuters)