Romanians miffed with OTE

BUCHAREST (AP) – Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase’s government wants to ask Parliament to decide the fate of Romanian fixed-line telephone operator Romtelecom SA, sources said late on Friday. The Parliament would have to decide whether the Romanian State should cede majority ownership in Romtelecom to Greek telecommunications company OTE by increasing share capital. OTE, which already owns a 35 percent stake in Romtelecom and has voting control over an additional 16 percent, is willing to inject funds into the company as a way of boosting its stake but isn’t interested in buying new shares directly from the government, which currently owns 65 percent. OTE’s refusal has irked Romanian officials, who were hoping to raise cash by selling part of its stake in Romtelecom. The government was trying to find a new investor to buy part of its stake. Continuous tariff hikes by Romtelecom in the past four years have made OTE unpopular among Romanians.