Bids for Forthnet; sale of 5% stake of OTE expected this week

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 22:02
ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/Παντελής Σαίτας

By T. Igoumenidi                                                                                                                                      

This week is expected to witness a couple of major developments in Greece’s telecoms sector, as Thursday marks a deadline for the submission of bids for a 5-percent stake in the previously state-owned Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), whereas a buyer for Internet and home entertainment provider Forthnet is expected on Friday.

As far as OTE is concerned, market analysts forecast that despite whatever interest by institutional investors the last remaining stake owed by the Greek state - in what for decades was a telephony monopoly in the country - will eventually wind up with Deutsche Telekom (DT). The latter already owns 40 percent of OTE’s shares and holds its management.  

DT retains a right of first preference for the 5-percent of OTE shares, which means that Greece’s privatization fund (HRADF) must give the German multinational 60 days to match the highest bid submitted as part of an international tender for the block of shares.

If no interest by investors appears for the OTE stake then HRADF will officially query DT on whether it will purchase the stake for an amount derived from the average OTE share price at the Athens Stock Market over the last 20 sessions from the day an invitation was extended by the privatization fund.

As far as Forthnet is concerned, multinationals Vodafone and Wind are expected to table a joint offer. Initial interest had been shown by Apollo Global Management, Providence, with is connected with the local media group Antenna, Pillarstone, Odyssey Consulting Management and Golden Tree Asset Management, a major shareholder in Wind.

Whatever best offer may arise, the result is not expected to be immediate, as another round of negotiations will follow with creditor banks.