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> Matav Rt. Officially Takes Over Telekom

Published date: 07.04.2005 14:59 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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Associated Press
Update 1: Matav Rt. Officially Takes Over Telekom
04. 06. 2005, 02:44 PM

The Hungary-based Matav Rt. took over Montenegro's telecommunications company Wednesday at an inaugural shareholders' meeting that also selected a new management, officials said.

The meeting followed last month's signing of the euro114 million (US$151.7 million) deal for a 51.12 percent stake in Montenegro's Telekom.

Matav Rt. - majority-owned by Deutsche Telekom AG - has in the past month also acquired almost 22 percent of the company's small stakes for euro22.9 million (US$29.4 million), and now owns a total of 73 percent in Telekom.

The government had privatized 48.88 percent of the company in 2001.

In the meantime, 15 percent of Telekom has been purchased by various U.S. investment funds, with only 12 percent in the hands of Montenegrin citizens.

Shareholders selected a seven-member managing board Wednesday, including five directors from the Hungarian company, one was from Telekom's previous management and one representing small shareholders.

"Today, with the shareholders meeting, this privatization process was successfully accomplished," said Matav Rt.'s CEO Elek Straub, adding that the company intends to introduce Internet broadband access and improve the cell phone coverage "very fast," along with providing "affordable services to the whole country."

Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said he hoped "this successful privatization ... would give impetus for other European investors."

Djukanovic and Straub spoke at a joint news conference late Wednesday.

Matav Rt. has offered to invest euro67.28 million (US$86.4 million) over the next five years to improve infrastructure, land lines, Internet connections and related services in Montenegro.

Telekom reported 2003 earnings of euro18 million, which made it one of the most profitable companies in the cash-strapped Balkan republic. It operates about 191,000 land lines, has 225,000 cell phone users and employs about 1,200 people.

In the mobile phone sector in Montenegro, Telekom's main competitor has been ProMonte, which has 366,000 cell phone users and is owned by Telenor ASA of Norway.