Greeks may give control over ArmenTel

Pan Armenian News
March 11 2004


The new Greek Government may sell its share of the OTE Company
possessing the 90% of ArmenTel.

”New Democrats” won the Parliamentary elections in Greece. After 10
years of governing the socialists became opposition. Change of the
government will not lead to serious changes in the foreign policy of
the official Athens, according to political observers. However, the
neighbors of Greece will feel those changes. Armenia as well.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ It’s evident that despite the informal alliance
between the socialists and the communists (which form the third
biggest faction in the parliament), the conservatives will form the
Cabinet of Ministers independently. Greece is suffering a serious
economic crisis and the new democrats believe its solution is the
”total privatization”. Leaders of the conservative party have
always stated their intention to sell the state share of OTE Company
holding the 90% of the shares of the Armenian telecommunications’
monopolist ”ArmenTel”. OTE used to be a state enterprise once but
then the 65% of its shares were sold. However, the government
continues to be the biggest shareholder of the company.

The shares of OTE hold by the state probably may be sold this year.
It is supposed that he privatization of the company will take 8-10
moths. So, next year ArmenTel may have a new shareholder. ”France
Telecom”, ”Telecom Italia”, the British `Cable & Wireless’ and
even the Turkish ”Turk Cell”, which is the biggest operator in
Azerbaijan and works also in Georgia, have shown interest towards the
privatization of the company.

The new holder of the biggest share of OTE will have to decide
whether to remain in the Armenian market of telecommunications or
not. The nowadays administrators of OTE has already started the
process of sale of ArmenTel’s shares. They started to negotiate with
Russian Rostelecom in autumn 2003. The negotiations were delayed
because of the elections but the privatization process may continue.
It is natural that in order to have a full control over the process
of privatization the Minister of Communication of Greece may change
the OTE administration. This will lead to change of ArmenTel’s
administration. So, the terms of depriving the monopoly on mobile
communication will be probably discussed with other people. While the
Executive Director of the company, Georgios Vasilakis, will evidently
have to leave the country.