OTE Mulls Canceling Sale of Bulgaria's GlobulBusiness | March 1, 2013, Friday // 15:05| views
A file photo, dated September 2008, shows Bulgarian mobile operator Globul marking the seventh anniversary since its launch with a party at a restaurant raised 45 meters above the ground in downtown Sofia. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
OTE, Greece's biggest telecoms operator, may halt a planned sale of its Bulgarian unit, Globul, after it successfully refinanced debt, company officials said.
Executives said Thursday that the sale of the Bulgarian unit, which may draw a bid from Turkey's biggest mobile operator, was not as pressing after the company tapped international markets for financing to pay debts due this year and next.
"The problem we had for refinancing mostly has been solved," Chief Executive Michael Tsamaz has told analysts, as cited by Bloomberg.
"The process we have for Globul has not stopped, it continues. However, we have to rethink the situation and reconsider the situation and decide based on the best of the shareholders' interest."
Globul accounts for about 7% of OTE's sales and about 9% of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).
OTE's chief executive said late last year Globul required a lot of investments, which OTE might not be able to provide, to remain competitive in a cut-throat Bulgarian market where customers are increasingly switching to cheaper services such as pre-paid offers.
In Bulgaria, Globul competes with Telekom Austria Mobiltel and Vivacom, recently acquired by Bulgarian banker Tsvetan Vasilev, and Russia's VTB Bank.