State’s OTE share transfer approved by EC

11 May 2007

The European Commission (EC) yesterday announced it has closed an in-depth investigation by concluding that the Greek government’s planned contribution to national telco OTE’s voluntary early retirement scheme was compatible with regulations on state aid. In a statement, the Commission said the government’s transfer of 4% of its shares in OTE to the company’s pension fund was aimed at relieving OTE from extra costs resulting mainly from the status of OTE’s employees. The EC’s decision was based on the government’s explicit commitment that the value of the shares to be transferred to the pension fund will not exceed the extra costs of the programme, estimated at EUR390.4 million. Commenting on the decision, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: ‘I am pleased to approve aid which should enable OTE to reduce its staff and become a leaner and more efficient company to the benefit of a healthier Greek communications market. The Commission is in favour of measures which help former monopolists adapt to a fully liberalised market environment provided that they comply with the state aid rules.’

Greece, Cosmote