Bloomberg News

Netia Finds New Investor for Mobile Phone Business P4 (Update3)

February 01, 2007

P4 Sp. z o.o., the affiliate of Netia SA that's building Poland's fourth mobile-phone network, will sell new shares to a fund in return for a stake in a phone retailer.

The transaction, which will be completed in three months, will give Tollerton Investments Ltd. a 22 percent stake in P4, Netia said in a statement today. The retailer, Germanos Polska, will start selling P4 services through its 300 outlets in April.

``Even though this was a pretty clever move by Netia, since they had to secure a distribution network, it won't change sentiment toward the company -- to enter this market, you need lots of cash,'' said Michal Marczak, analyst at BRE Bank.

P4 plans to start offering its mobile phone services by the end of this quarter, entering a market whose three incumbent operators already have 37 million accounts, equivalent to almost the size of the country's population.

Netia's holding in P4 will fall to 23.4 percent from 30 percent, and Icelandic venture capital fund Novator will see its stake drop to 54.6 percent from 70 percent, Netia said.

Netia shares rose 2.3 percent to 4.81 zloty in Warsaw, compared with a 1.9 percent gain for the benchmark WIG20 index. They are down 10 percent in the past year.

Germanos Polska will start selling P4 services when its current agreement with Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa SA ends, Wasilis Billis, business development director at parent Olympia Development said at a press conference in Warsaw.

Billis said it's unsure whether Germanos will sign a new contract with Polska Telefonia once it starts selling P4 products.

P4 will also use Polish units of Media Markt, the electrical retailer of Metro AG (MEO), and press and books distributor Empik to sell its services, Chief Executive Officer Chris Bannister said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nathaniel Espino in Warsaw nespino@bloomberg.net Marta Waldoch in Warsaw on mwaldoch@bloomberg.net Katarzyna Klimasinska in Warsaw at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Tilles at dtilles@bloomberg.net


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