Greece has confirmed that it will exercise a put option to sell a 10% stake in incumbent PSTN operator Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) by the end of this year as part of a series of asset sales aimed at raising EUR50 billion (USD72 billion) by 2015. The state will also reduce its stake in Public Power Corp to 34% from 51% and will offload a portion of its interest in Athens International Airport, under a plan to raise EUR15 billion by 2013 and EUR50 billion by 2015. The government also announced that it will introduce additional austerity measures worth EUR26 billion, as it strives to reduce the country’s deficit and chip away at debts of around EUR340 billion. Greece last year accepted a EUR110 billion loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to escape bankruptcy, but despite harsh austerity measures introduced as part of its recovery plan, it failed to meet targets, forcing the government to explore additional revenue generating options. The Prime Minister stated that a detailed timeline for the new batch of sell-offs and other measures will be presented ‘after Easter’ (24 April).
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Greek state holds 16% equity in OTE (including 3% via DEKA SA), plus one voting share and joint management control with the telco’s largest shareholder Deutsche Telekom (with 30%). GlobalComms adds that a put option expiring December 2011 entitles the government to sell 10% of OTE at a price 15%-20% above market value, while if Deutsche Telekom lifts its interest to 33% it will trigger a mandatory public offer under stock market rules.