OTE puts brake on expansion abroad

OTE telecom, 30 percent-owned by Deutsche Telekom, will seek growth opportunities through the launch of new products and services, putting the brake on expansion plans abroad, it said yesterday. Greece’s largest telecom company, OTE, has been expanding in Southeastern Europe in recent years, entering Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia in a bid to become a regional player. OTE Chief Executive Officer Panagis Vourloumis told reporters the launch of new products will help offset the negative impact in the sector from the economic crisis and an ongoing price war. «We will come out with satellite TV and enter new [product] markets in Greece and elsewhere,» he said, without providing further details. OTE is also looking into offering joint products with its mobile phone unit Cosmote but needs to be aware of regulatory issues, he added. Turning to plans by the Serbian government to privatize landline monopoly Telekom Srbija, Vourloumis said OTE is «not interested.» OTE owns 20 percent of the Serbian company. Shares in OTE, which has a market value of nearly 5 billion euros, have fallen 19.2 percent in the last year, underperforming a 22.3 percent advance on the broader Athens market.

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