ECONOMY

Rumors of OTEnet bid boost share price of Cypriot ISP on bourse

NICOSIA – Shares in Cypriot Internet service provider AvacomNet soared yesterday when it said it was open to cooperation with third parties after reports it was a takeover target of Greece’s OTE Telecom. The penny stock registered a 20-percent jump to 5.2 cents and it was the most actively traded stock on the Cyprus bourse after the Fileleftheros daily said it was close to being snapped up by OTEnet, OTE’s Internet service provider subsidiary. Fileleftheros said OTEnet executives arrived on the island late on Wednesday to thrash out the final details of acquiring AvacomNet and LogosNet, another privately run ISP controlled by the Cyprus Church. OTEnet officials in Athens denied they were buying either company. «OTEnet thinks Cyprus is a market of interest to us but there’s been no decision made till now on how to go ahead,» a spokeswoman said. AvacomNet left investors guessing after saying in a statement to the Nicosia Stock Exchange that negotiations were under way «which concern the ISP activities, not the entire company, which have not been concluded.» It said it was talking to third parties, though did not mention OTEnet by name. AvacomNet, a sister company of Avacom Computers, has seen its issue price of 50 cents dwindle to a low of 3.4 cents during the stock exchange’s two-year slide. In general, technology shares on the Nicosia bourse have had a torrid time, making companies ripe for hostile takeovers or mergers. The Cypriot ISP market is dominated by CytaNET, a unit of state-controlled CyTA telecoms. AvacomNet is already a partner with OTE in HellasSat, a Greek venture which plans to blast its first satellite into space next year in time for the Olympic Games. AvacomNet holds a 43.3-percent stake in the venture and OTE, 25 percent. (Combined reports)