Tellas to get 70-mln-euro injection

Wind Hellas Telecommunications, the Greek wireless company controlled by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, plans to invest more than 70 million euros ($108 million) this year in its Tellas Telecommunications unit. The amount will be spent on improving networks and adding capacity to gain high-speed Internet clients, according to a press release handed to reporters in Athens today. Tellas aims to have 11 percent of the domestic market for broadband services by the end of the year. Last year, Sawiris acquired the stake he didn’t already own in Tellas, the second-largest Greek fixed-line phone company. He wants to use Tellas to offer more services with Wind Hellas, which combines Greece’s third- and fourth-biggest wireless companies. Sawiris controls the company through his holding company Weather Investments Srl. Sawiris is banking on a growing appetite in Greece for high-speed Internet services and products that combine mobile, fixed-line phone and Internet services. «Growth will come from the convergence of fixed, wireless and broadband services at all levels, including network and handsets and not just services,» Wind Hellas Chief Executive Officer Socrates Kominakis said in the statement. Tellas lost 25,646 customers in the final quarter of 2007 for a total of 781,929. The company posted a loss before taxes of 8.4 million euros on February 19, compared with 7.7 million euros a year earlier, on higher depreciation and monthly access costs. Sales increased 7.7 percent to 30.7 million euros. (Bloomberg)