DT asks for OTE benefits

Deutsche Telekom (DT) is asking the Greek government for some conditions in return for acquiring a 5-percent stake in OTE Telecom. The sale price of 27.50 euros per share is 130 percent higher than the current price of OTE on the stock market, which in practice means that the German company will have to pay the Greek state 680 million euros for a stake that would cost some 300 million euros on the market. «This has a huge financial as well as public relations outlay for DT,» commented a market official. «The German firm has shareholders to whom they will have a hard time explaining the price they will have to pay,» he added. This is why the German side is preparing to apply pressure toward obtaining other benefits, given that the sale price is fixed, according to the two sides’ agreement. Within this context, DT is going to ask for a reduction in the level of regulation at OTE, having witnessed the fines the market’s watchdog has imposed on the Greek telecom giant, and for OTE’s right to decide on its own about investing in new-generation networks (optical fibers). For the Finance Ministry, such issues are of minor importance, as the situation regarding state finances is much more pressing. Sources from the ministry are suggesting that the German company’s contribution toward meeting the target of 1 billion euros in nationalizations will be crucial. A key indication of the government’s intentions will come when it decides whether to renew the mandate of the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) as its existing one ends in July.