NEWS

Intracom woos OTE

After spending nearly two decades as the supplier of choice to the state-controlled Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), private telecom company Intracom, through its chairman Socrates Kokkalis, yesterday essentially proposed a merger between the two companies. With Intracom’s statement for the last nine months showing an accumulated debt of 287 billion drachmas, Kokkalis yesterday called on the government and the main opposition party to examine his proposal and the benefits this would bring to the companies involved and the country’s economy. Addressing an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting, he said that a corporate partnership or cooperation with OTE or possibly with other Greek companies in the sector will create a group with a strong presence abroad. But both the government and the opposition appeared to spurn the proposal. Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said that there are no such thoughts. New Democracy party spokesman Theodoris Roussopoulos said: The talk of a merger of the most profitable Greek state company, OTE, with its preferred bidder is unprecedented internationally. It goes against the principles of the free market, competition and transparency. In his comments on Intracom’s merger with its software subsidiary Intrasoft, Kokkalis said that the company resulting from the merger in the sphere of telecommunications and informatics will be the biggest in the sector in the region of Southeastern and Central Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States as well. The integrated group is projected to have turnover of 350 billion drachmas and profits of 50 billion drachmas this year, he said. Intracom reported double-digit growth in both sales and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) in the nine-month period to September, but the company, like all others, remains exposed to the global volatility affecting all companies at present. Salonica farmers postpone protests