T-HT and Optima Telecom choose strategic partnership as lifeline for altnet

2 Jul 2013

Following a pre-bankruptcy hearing, financially struggling Croatian alternative operator Optima Telekom on 28 June 2013 published an official plan for its financial and operational restructuring under which it proposes national incumbent T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) as its new controlling shareholder. On the same date T-HT filed a notification to the Croatian Competition Agency (AZTN) based on the altnet’s restructuring plan, in which it states its intent to take control of Optima and consolidate the smaller operator into its accounts. Pending AZTN’s permission, the restructuring plan should be finalised by early August, as the pre-bankruptcy procedure begun in April carried a deadline of four months; Optima will likely enter bankruptcy if its plan fails to win approval from the comptroller. Optima stated that ‘in light of T-HT’s strengths and competencies in the industry, and its business and technology assets, Optima Telecom regards T-HT as a highly suitable partner and proposes strategic partnership, which it considers to be the only feasible solution in order to maintain its business and prevent bankruptcy.’

Amongst the list of Optima’s creditors claiming a total of HRK1.065 billion (USD186 million) as of 11 April 2013, T-HT had the second largest claim of HRK100 million, behind Zagrebacka banka (Zaba, HRK600 million). The plan envisages debt-to-equity swaps by the creditors that would give T-HT a minority stake, while Zaba would transfer its future management rights to T-HT, thereby granting T-HT operational and strategic control of Optima for a period not less than five years.

Croatia, Hrvatski Telekom (HT), Optima Telekom (incl. H1 Telekom)