Croatian broadband operator Optima Telekom has unveiled plans to merge with rival ISP H1 Telekom in a move which the companies say will achieve positive synergies, increase efficiency and reduce costs. Local press reports suggest that the deal has been arranged by Croatian state-run bank and H1 shareholder Hrvatska Postanska Banka (HPB). The firms have submitted their merger plan to regulators for approval and are hoping to complete their tie up by the start of 2017.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom’s Croatian subsidiary T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) has submitted a request to the country’s Competition Agency AZTN to extend its management rights over Optima for a further three years beyond the original July 2018 deadline. A T-HT statement reads: ‘The financial, organisational and legal consolidation of H1 and Optima, with prolonged management by T-HT will enable the continuity of operations of these companies and the fulfilment of obligations to customers, employees and creditors.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, T-HT has a 19% stake in Optima and took control of the company in 2014 after the latter had run into financial difficulties the previous year. Optima’s largest shareholder is Zagrebacka Banka (Zaba) with a 40% interest.