OTE board meets today

The board of Greece’s OTE Telecom will meet today to discuss its Romanian investment and approve a buyback of OTE shares, an authoritative source said yesterday. OTE stock has fallen sharply in recent weeks on concerns about the slow pace of restructuring at its biggest foreign investment, 35-percent owned Romtelecom, and the source said the board was likely to discuss delays in finalizing OTE’s plans. But no decisions are expected to be made, the high-level company source told Reuters. «It (Romtelcom) will be discussed but it’s not an agenda item, as such, where some decision will be taken,» the source said. OTE’s Chief Executive Lefteris Antonakopoulos is due to visit Romania soon to tackle a long-overdue restructuring plan for Romtelecom. The source said there was «quite a degree of certainty» the meeting with high-level Romanian government officials would take place in the following week. Antonakopoulos, who is likely to be accompanied by OTE International’s president, George Skarpelis, on his trip to Bucharest, is expected to press for a written commitment from Romania for OTE’s business plan for Romtelecom. OTE wants a capital increase for Romtelecom to provide the company with much-needed funds for a restructuring program but has deflected demands from the Romanian government to buy the 65 percent of the company’s shares it does not already own. The source said the company was in the process of fixing dates for meetings with investors and analysts in Europe and the USA over the next month. «We plan roadshows over the next month to point out the positives and the imminent solution in Romania,» the source said. OTE has tumbled 20 percent since announcing its first-half results in late August. It has fallen to its lowest price since January 1997, slicing about 2 billion euros off its market capitalization. (Reuters) – Far East more active with some interesting fixtures. Mol Navix has fixed M/V «Navios Magellan,» 69,618 dwt, built 1992, delivery Muscat Oct. 3-5 trip via WC India, redelivery Japan, at USD 12,000 daily.