DT mulling Eastern Europe acquisitions?

17 Aug 2004

Rumours abound that Deutsche Telekom (DT) may be back on the hunt for acquisitions following the German incumbent’s success in reducing its debt pile. With net debt down to EUR43.3 billion at the end of June, from a high of EUR64 billion, the group expects to generate around EUR6 billion in free cash flow this year and analysts have singled out Eastern Europe as a likely target for investment. With Western European telecoms markets rapidly reaching saturation, the less developed eastern markets offer better chances of growth. DT already has direct and indirect investments in telecoms operations in the region and recently made an unsuccessful EUR1.1 billion bid to acquire the 51% of Polish cellco Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PTC) it does not already own from Vivendi Universal and Elektrim. It is thought that attempts to up its holdings in Hrvatski Telekom (Croatia), Matav (Hungary) and T-Mobile Czech Republic could soon follow, before the German giant turns its attentions to new territories.