Deutsche Telekom has no regrets on OTE deal

With the crisis prompting Greek businesses to review strategic plans, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive said he did not regret buying a large stake in local telecoms group OTE and that he had faith in the operator’s business despite the Greek financial crisis. «There is life after the crisis,» Rene Obermann told German weekly Welt am Sonntag at the weekend. «Our outlook for the future reaches beyond two to three years,» he said, adding that the stake in OTE had allowed Deutsche Telekom to expand its presence in countries such as Romania and Bulgaria. «Why should we regret our good position in Southeastern Europe?» Obermann said. Asked whether the Greek business had been impacted by the country’s crisis, Obermann said: «I cannot give you the figures for the first three months today. But judging by last year’s figures there is no reason for me to have any doubt in OTE’s performance.» The German telecoms company bought a 25 percent stake for 3.2 billion euros in May 2008 and later acquired an additional 5 percent from the Greek government. The Greek state has an option to sell a further 10 percent stake in OTE until December 2011. Obermann has said he was open to increasing Deutsche Telekom’s stake in OTE. OTE contributed 2 billion euros to Deutsche Telekom’s core earnings last year and saved it from a fall in revenues. Shares in OTE, which rose 0.48 percent to 8.39 euros yesterday, have lost 13.51 percent on the Athens bourse in the last three months versus an 8.19 percent slide in the broader market.

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