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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-14

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't OK's OTE deal with Deutsche Telekom
  • [02] Greece, Argentina sign agreement

  • [01] Gov't OK's OTE deal with Deutsche Telekom

    The Greek government on Wednesday officially announced the sale of around a 3.0 percent equity stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation to Deutsche Telekom for 442.3 million euros, or 29.75 euros per share, offering the German telecoms giant the management of the Greek telecoms organization.

    In announcing the agreement, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, who was accompanied by Transport and Communications Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, said the deal will give DT some 23 percent of OTE's shares, with the remaining shares ostensibly will be acquired on the market.

    Alogoskoufis also said that although the Greek state has no intent to sell-off more of its shares in OTE, the biggest telecoms provider in the Balkans, it retains the right to do so at a set minimum price for one year -- 5 percent for at least 27.5 euros per share. He also cited a similar clause for selling another 10 percent by 2011.

    In repeating various "safety clauses" retained by the Greek state vis-a-vis OTE, Alogoskoufis said the government will retain the right to veto decisions involving national security and defence; it will be represented with two appointees on a four-person "executive committee" appointed to run the company's day-to-day operations, whereas telecoms rates will fall under the jurisdiction of the independent telecoms watchdog authority EETT.

    Expectedly, the announcement of the final deal to transfer OTE's management generated a firestorm of criticism by the opposition.

    Speaking to reporters, after an inter-ministerial commission meeting approved the deal with Deutsche Telekom, Alogoskoufis said the deal will be valid only after its approval by Parliament, the European Commission and regulatory authorities in Greece and Germany. The deal paves a new road for Hellenic Telecoms and for the Greek economy in general, while it ensured workers‚ rights in the organization, he noted.

    Alogoskoufis added that a partnership with Europe‚s largest telecoms organization will strengthen OTE, both financially and technologically. The country‚s telecommunications sector will also be strengthened, he noted, adding that the government was fully satisfied with the deal.

    Under the terms of the deal, Deutsche Telekom will have to buy 3.0 pct from the Greek state at a price of 29.75 euros per share, while the German group will not be able either to buy or sell shares in OTE until 2011. A board council will comprise of 10 members, five each, while the Greek state retains the right of two vetoes over appointment of board members.

    Alogoskoufis reiterated that a National Telecommunications Commission maintains its role in approving telecoms rates. Panagis Vourloumis will remain as chairman and chief executive.

    The Greek minister said that the deal envisages consultations on labour issues under the Greek labour legislation.

    ?It is a pioneer agreement for Greece and Europe,? Alogoskoufis said noting that the deal will boost competition, offering high-quality products, while the organization will be strengthened.

    Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis said the deal was a very important step for the Greek organization and the economy in general, noting it was a balanced deal ensuring workers rights. ?Today, Hellenic Telecoms is promoted in the first league of Europe,? he said.

    [02] Greece, Argentina sign agreement

    Visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valynakis held a meeting in Buenos Aires on Tuesday with Argentinian Deputy Foreign Minister Victorio Jose Taccetti and Deputy Trade and International Economic Relations Minister Alfredo Vicente Chiaradia, during which an Economic Cooperation Agreement between the two countries was signed.

    "We signed an economic cooperation agreement between Argentina and Greece. A new era is opening with this agreement in the development of our bilateral relations. I want to believe that this is the beginning, since more agreements will follow, which are necessary to strengthen our relations in other sectors as well," Valynakis said.

    The minister, who also met with representatives of the Greek community in Argentina, referred to the important role played by the Greek communities in the country which, as he said, can make their own contribution to the effort to further strengthen traditionally friendly relations between Greece and Argentina.

    The talks also focused on issues concerning bilateral political relations and prospects for further strengthening cooperation in the economic and trade sectors, as well as other matters of international concern.

    As regards bilateral relations between the two countries in particular, a series of agreements in important sectors was examined, such as tourism, education, maritime transport, etc, that are expected to be signed in the near future in the framework of exchanges of visits by officials from the two countries.


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