Bloomberg News

SES Would Consider Buying OTE’s Hellas Sat, CEO Bausch Says

September 14, 2011

(Updates with Greece’s recession in third paragraph.)

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- SES SA would be interested in buying the Hellas Sat satellite unit of Greece’s Hellenic Telecommunications Organizaton SA, Chief Executive Officer Romain Bausch said in Paris today.

“OTE may consider selling Hellas Sat,” Bausch said on the sidelines of a conference in Paris. “The decision on the sale hasn’t been taken, but once they decide we’re interested in looking.”

OTE, Greece’s largest phone company, needs to cut costs as the country experiences the third year of a recession. OTE has been losing fixed-line and mobile-phone customers, leading to a 7.6 percent drop in second-quarter sales. The company is considering a freeze on wages as it seeks to cut payroll costs, the Kathimerini newspaper said yesterday, without citing anyone.

OTE, based in Athens, said Aug. 4 that it had no plans to sell the satellite unit. Spokespeople for OTE didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment today. The company is controlled by Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s biggest phone company.

SES, the world’s largest publicly-traded satellite operator, has embarked on the largest expansion in the industry. The Luxembourg-based company, alongside rival Eutelsat Communications SA, is launching new satellites to add capacity.

More than 200 commercial communication satellites will be launched by 2020 as a surging number of television stations boosts demand for broadcasting services, Euroconsult estimates.

OTE gained 1.5 percent to 3.99 euros in Athens trading today, while SES rose 2.2 percent to 17.82 euros in Paris.

--Editors: Simon Thiel, Robert Valpuesta.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Remondini in Milan at cremondini@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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