Despite aiming to privatise a wide range of assets to raise some EUR3 billion (USD4 billion) over the next three years, the Greek government has no current plans to sell its 16% stake in incumbent telco OTE, according to the finance minister in charge of the asset divestment programme, quoted by the Wall Street Journal. George Christodoulakis stated that the government does not intend to ‘unbalance the equilibrium’ in the telecoms market with a further offloading of OTE shares. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that a put option expiring December 2011 entitles the state to sell 10% in OTE at a price 15%-20% above market value, with the only likely buyer being Deutsche Telekom (DT), which currently owns a 30% share of the Greek former monopoly and has joint management control with the government. Once DT lifts its holding to 33% it will trigger a mandatory public offer under stock market rules.
The German giant paid EUR3.2 billion for 25% of OTE (which includes mobile group Cosmote) in November 2008, and in July 2009 DT handed over EUR674 million for an additional 5%. In March that year a 4% stake was transferred by the government to pension fund IKA-ETAM at a value of EUR202 million.