Vodafone to meet Polish Minister to discuss Polkomtel

12 Mar 2008

Bloomberg reports that representatives for the Vodafone Group, which owns 19.6% of Polish cellco Polkomtel, will meet with Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad tomorrow to discuss its investment. Citing business daily newspaper Puls Biznesu, the report goes on to say that fellow Polkomtel shareholder KGHM Polska Miedz, is looking for the government to help solve a conflict between shareholders over the sale of TDC of Denmark’s 19.61% stake.

According to TeleGeography’s Globalcomms database, in February 2006 TDC announced its intention to sell its stake and revealed it had agreed a deal with the Polish shareholders for them to buy a proportionate part of its shares, representing 14.8% of the total share capital of Polkomtel, for EUR650.5 million. At the same time Vodafone was also offered a proportionate share of TDC’s stake, but the British company disagreed with the price named by TDC (and agreed to by the Polish shareholders) and on 10 March 2006 it filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Arbitration in Vienna against TDC and the other shareholders. In December 2006 the Warsaw court of appeal upheld Vodafone’s request to forbid the sale by TDC of its stake. Vodafone reportedly paid EUR43 million (USD57.4 million) as a deposit to the court to have the decision granted. The International Court of Arbitration in Vienna began hearing the case in January 2007 and a judgement is still awaited. Meanwhile, in June 2007 the Polish government offered to sell as much as 19.6% of Polkomtel to Vodafone, doubling the British company’s stake, on the proviso that the British company allows Polish firms to retain control. Citing unnamed sources, financial daily newspaper Parkiet said the Polish treasury had offered Vodafone state-owned PKN’s stake. Gazeta Wyborcza meanwhile reported that the British firm had been offered an additional 10%. In exchange, Warsaw is reported to want Vodafone to drop its lawsuit blocking TDC’s planned transfer.

Poland, Plus (Polkomtel), Vodafone Group