Stormy Weather (or ill Wind?) for Sawiris, PPC talks

20 Jul 2007

Talks between Naguib Sawiris’ telecoms group Wind and Greek utility Public Power Corporation (PPC) regarding the acquisition of PPC’s 50%-minus-one-share in alternative Greek telco Tellas have collapsed, according to sources close to the matter, quoted by local press. Egyptian tycoon Sawiris, also chairman of Orascom Telecom, is said to have instructed Deutsche Bank to find a buyer for his group’s 50%-plus-one-share stake in Tellas, in line with earlier statements that he would either seek 100% ownership of the fixed line and broadband operator, or exit completely.

Sawiris’ family-controlled holding vehicle, Weather Investments, acquired Greece’s third largest mobile operator TIM Hellas, and its wholly owned subsidiary Q-Telecom, for USD3.4 billion in February, and relaunched the company under the Wind Hellas banner. Weather Investments also controls Italian telco Wind Telecomunicazioni, itself the controller of Tellas, the largest competitor to Greek incumbent OTE, and Sawiris has revealed plans to merge all his Greek assets by the end of 2007, but the strategy rests on Wind acquiring the remaining shares from state-controlled PPC. Domestic firm Marfin Investment Group (MIG) has confirmed that it is also interested in acquiring PPC’s Tellas stake.

Greece, Wind Hellas, WINDTRE (incl. Wind and 3 Italia)