ECONOMY

Vourloumis may stay on as CEO

OTE’s chief executive and board chairman, Panagis Vourloumis, will stay on for a transitional period if a deal is reached with Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (DT), a senior government source said yesterday. «Vourloumis will stay on as CEO and board chairman for a transitional period. After the transitional period, the chairman and CEO will have to be approved by both sides,» the senior Finance Ministry official told Reuters. Greece and DT have been in talks since last month, trying to hammer out the details of a deal for the German group to buy a stake in Greece’s largest telecoms company from the government. «(After the transition) Greece will propose the board chairman and DT will pick the chief executive, provided both nominations are accepted by both sides,» the official said. The deal would see the two groups covering the Balkans with both fixed and mobile telephony. Talks are taking place during a period of consolidation in Europe’s telecoms sector, as bigger firms seek out scale and growth in the mature European markets. OTE is also present in Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Albania, with fixed-line or mobile telephony. «Negotiations are continuing and are intense. The deal may not be completed this week,» said the official. Greece’s finance and transport ministers met with DT’s Vice President Karl-Gerhard Eick yesterday to discuss the details of the deal. The Greek government owns 28 percent of OTE. Last month DT agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in OTE from buyout firm Marfin Investment Group (MIG) at 26 euros a share or 2.5 billion euros. In order to raise its stake beyond 20 percent, Deutsche needs Greek government permission, according to a recent Greek law. Last week, a senior government official told Reuters, the two sides have agreed that DT will buy 3 percent from the state and a further 2 percent stake from the market. Both sides will control a combined stake of slightly over 50 percent. (Reuters)