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TA to snap up remaining Velcom shares by year-end

3 Mar 2010

Telekom Austria (TA) is planning to purchase the remaining 30% interest it does not own in its Belarusian cellular subsidiary Mobile Digital Communications (Velcom) before the end of 2010, according to a report in the WirtschaftsBlatt newspaper. TA may have to spend up to EUR500 million (USD677 million) to secure the shares, currently held by Austrian industrialist Martin Schlaff and Syrian businessman Ead Samawi, each of whom has a 15% stake. A spokeswoman for the Austrian group, Elisabeth Mattes, said TA has already secured funding to buy the outstanding shares. Velcom posted a net loss of EUR211.9 million in FY2009, reversing a net profit of EUR75.1 million in FY2008, after poor local economic conditions and a negative exchange rate impacted its bottom line, she added. TA bought a UMTS licence for Velcom in February this year, she went on to say, at a cost of EUR9.5 million. The 3G licence will expire in 2017.

Belarus, A1 Belarus, A1 Telekom Austria Group

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