OTE vies for control of Albtelecom

By Vangelis Mandravelis

OTE telecom is said to be in talks regarding the acquisition of Albanian telecommunications firm Albtelecom, having had a presence in the neighboring country since 2000 through the AMC cell phone company.

Sources say OTE and Albtelecom representatives have already met several times, but that a deal has yet to be reached, mainly due to price disagreements. Although it has not been confirmed, Kathimerini understands that Albtelecom?s Turkish shareholders are asking for between 200 and 230 million euros in terms of market value, which also includes 70 million euros in loans. OTE sources describe that price as inconceivable, hence the problems in the talks.

Albtelecom CEO Erkan Tabak recently dismissed talk about ?the interest of Deutsche Telekom,? as OTE is referred to in Albania, as mere speculation. ?Everything is a matter of the right price,? a market professional commented.

Albtelecom is the former telecom monopoly in Albania which was privatized in 2007 and bought out by Cetel. The firm also acquired the third cell phone network license in the country, competing with Vodafone and AMC.

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