Polish groups claim victory in Polkomtel row

1 Apr 2008

Reuters is reporting that several Polish shareholders in wireless network operator Polkomtel have scored a legal victory in a long-running dispute with Vodafone, after an arbitration panel ruled they can go ahead with increasing their combined stake. The arbitration panel’s decision supported Danish telco TDC’s agreement to sell its 19.6% stake in Polkomtel to a group of Polish state-controlled companies, although certain conditions in this latest ruling make it unclear when the transaction could take place. ‘Vodafone and TDC still need to reach an agreement on the terms of the sale and no one knows how long that will take,’ said a spokesperson for one of the Polish shareholders KGHM. ‘It is a question of whether Vodafone wants to continue fighting.’

The long-running litigation dates back to 2006, when Vodafone, which also owns a 19.6% stake in Polkomtel, filed a lawsuit questioning the manner in which TDC was disposing of its stake, blocking a transaction which would have raised the Polish companies’ combined stake to over 75%. Poland’s Treasury currently controls a 60.8% stake indirectly through four state-controlled companies: PKN Orlen (19.6%), KGHM (19.6%), PGE (17.6%) and Weglokoks (4%).

Poland, Plus (Polkomtel), Vodafone Group