ECONOMY

OTE – Deutsche Telekom talks are ‘still on track’

Greece’s talks to sell a stake in OTE telecom to Deutsche Telekom are still on track, government officials said yesterday, dismissing press reports that negotiations had stalled. Greek and foreign media reported talks between the country’s Finance Ministry and the German telecoms group were at risk of collapse over the issue of management at OTE and the price to be paid by Deutsche Telekom for the OTE stake. «Nothing has changed. Negotiations are still on track,» a Finance Ministry official who declined to be named told Reuters. A second government official said, «Talks on management roles and their respective powers are tough, but there is very good will on both sides to reach a deal.» Earlier this week, a government official said the two sides had agreed that Greece would appoint the board chairman at OTE and Deutsche Telekom would pick the chief executive. Greece and Deutsche Telekom have been in intense negotiations since last month, trying to hammer out the details of the deal, which will see the two groups covering the Balkan telecoms market with both fixed and mobile telephony services. The potential deal comes during a period of consolidation in the European telecoms sector, as bigger firms seek out scale and growth in the mostly mature markets of Europe. OTE is also present in Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Albania, with fixed-line or mobile telephony. Greece wants to sell a 3 percent stake to Deutsche Telekom at more than 26 euros a share and retain a strong role in management decisions. Media have reported that the two sides cannot reach agreement on either issue. (Reuters)