ECONOMY

OTE cuts bonuses and credit cards

OTE telecom’s administration is embarking on an aggressive policy of cutting operating costs by putting an end to bonuses for top officials along with the use of corporate credit cards. As of tomorrow, OTE’s board is asking all of its directors, deputy directors and other high-level officers within the organization and its subsidiaries to return their corporate credit cards. It will also reportedly stop offering bonuses related to meeting targets – a perk enjoyed by directors and deputy directors – for 12 months. Sources suggest that this cost-cutting policy will save the telecom giant up to 5 million euros per year. OTE is proceeding to this move taking into account the economic situation as well as the need to rationalize its finances. Meanwhile, the European Commission is about to issue its verdict on the previous government’s decisions on OTE. The verdict will concern the clause introduced at the end of 2007 by then Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis regarding the 20 percent limit to the stake that could be acquired by a private investor in public companies of a strategic character, and the issue of major shareholder Deutsche Telekom gaining control of OTE without the submission of a public proposal, as the relevant European Union directive provides for. As far as the latter issue is concerned, the German telecommunications firm is hoping for a decision asking it to submit a public offering to OTE. At this conjunction, such a development would allow Deutsche Telekom to acquire more OTE shares at a relatively low price, which would change the balance of control within the Greek telecom organization. A leading official at OTE noted a few days ago that the Commission is on the verge of issuing its decision, stressing that «you’ll have to wait to here from Brussels» for OTE news.