RCS&RDS profits melt; does ice cream man face a cash freeze?

14 Jul 2011

According to The Bucharest Diplomat, Romanian telco Romania Cable Systems (RCS&RDS) has announced undisclosed losses for 2010, after posting a net profit of nearly RON212 million (USD69.6 million) in 2009. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the operator – which is owned by the enigmatic businessman Zoltan Teszari – currently ranks as Romania’s largest broadband provider in terms of subscribers, and also has a presence in the country’s fixed line, mobile and pay-TV markets. Prior to assuming control of RCS&RDS, the notoriously secretive Teszari famously ran an ice cream kiosk. Further, it is believed that Teszari has not been photographed publicly for over a decade.

Teszari’s financial woes do not end there, however. According to Ziarul Financiar (ZF), RCS&RDS – along with Orange, Vodafone and Cosmote – is currently being investigated by the Competition Council (CC) regarding possible abuses of significant market power within the mobile market. ZF indicates that, although such investigations by the CC can typically take up to two years, companies risk being fined anything between 0.5% and 10% of their annual turnovers if the investigation goes against them.

Finally, Romania’s Business Review has reported that national broadcaster the Antena Group has sued RCS&RDS over restrictions imposed on the broadcast of its ‘Antena 1’ channel. Antena Group has accused the cableco of violating the legal framework for broadcasting ‘must-carry’ programmes, and has demanded EUR60 million (USD84.4 million) in damages.

Romania, RCS&RDS (DIGI)