Marfin to up stake in OTE telecom

Private equity fund Marfin Investment Group (MIG) urged the government yesterday to drop a new law limiting private holdings in strategic state firms but said that it would continue to keep buying shares in state-controlled OTE telecom. MIG Vice Chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos said his company, which now holds 18.4 percent of OTE, would not challenge the legislation in the European courts and would accept a minority stake in the telecoms giant. «We will have 20 percent by the end of the year. We want our participation to be substantive,» he said. Last week, the government unveiled measures which would cap MIG’s investment in OTE as part of investment restrictions applying to companies considered to be of strategic importance. Vgenopoulos attacked OTE CEO Panagis Vourloumis, accusing him of «dictatorial management» at the company, and urged the government to replace him. «I considered it inconceivable that the government will continue to provide (Vourloumis) with political support,» he said. Marfin is the second-largest shareholder in OTE after the Greek state and is seeking representation on its board. Late yesterday, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis responded by saying that privatizations cannot be completed solely in accordance with stock market rules and cannot go against government policy.