German operator takes up option to buy a further 5% stake in Greek business

Deutsche Telekom has agreed to pay €284.1 million for a further 5% stake in Greek telecoms operator OTE after the state failed to secure any other offers for the shares.

The German incumbent already holds a 40% stake in OTE with the state holding 10%.

Athens opened the bidding for the stake earlier this year as part of a broader privatisation scheme, but last week admitted that no bids had been forthcoming by its 15 March deadline. As such, major shareholder Deutsche Telekom was invited to exercise its right of first refusal over the stake, an option it chose to take, Greek privatisation agency HRADF announced on Wednesday.

Deutsche Telekom began building its stake in OTE over 15 years ago and in 2014 shared plans to invest €1.2 billion on the operator over four years on top of the €2 billion it had already spent in the preceding five.

The Greek market contributed €2.85 billion to Deutsche Telekom’s €74.9 billion top line last year and brought in €1.1 billion in EBITDA.

In addition to its home market, OTE also has operations in Romania and Albania.