France Telecom (FT) has announced that it will increase its stake in Polish fixed line operator TP SA by exercising put options on two holding companies owned by Kulczyk – Tele Invest and Tele Invest II – which together own 13.57% of the telco. The deal will cost FT in the region of EUR40 million and will increase its ownership of TP SA to 47.5%. FT is believed to be increasing its stake now to allow it to refinance its existing commitments at more attractive rates. As part of the deal Kulczyk will continue to benefit from any increase in the TP SA share price above PLN56 before 6 July 2006, capped at EUR110 million.
Meanwhile, TP SA posted weaker than expected results for the second quarter of 2004, with revenues for fixed line operations falling 5.8% year-on-year to PLN6.84 billion. Sales from the group’s mobile arm PTK Centertel, however, surged 28.6% to PLN2.67 billion, helping the company as a whole to report a revenue increase of 1.5% compared to the same period of 2003, to PLN9.2 million. In terms of operational data, TP SA reported 10.17 million plain old telephony lines in service at 30 June 2004, up from 9.99 million a year earlier. Broadband has been the real winner in recent months, with the number of ADSL customers increasing from just 36,000 at the end of June 2003 to 270,000 a year later. In the wireless arena PTK Centertel, owned by France Telecom (56.4%) and TP SA (43.6%), claimed a total of 6.09 million customers to take a 31.2% share of the market.