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The taking over of the Telekom Romania operations risks to get under the Russian ‘domination’ with controversial connections

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According to the news.ro, the Greek group OTE and its main shareholder, the German tycoon Deutsche Telekom are about to sell the majority package of shares of Telekom Romania, the present information showing four competitors who are discussing a possible taking over of the Romanian telecommunications operator or a part of the business: RCS&RDS, the company controlled by the businessman Zoltan Tsesari, the French Orange group, the Russian company ER-Telecom, among the biggest 10 players in the telecommunications industry of Russia, and Spas Rusev, one of the richest but most controversial Bulgarian businessmen, with strong connections with Russian finance.

Telekom Romania, the brand under which the former Romtelecom and Cosmote Romania have been operating since 2014  is controlled - 54.01% by the Greek group OTE where Deutsche Telekom owns 46% shares.

The information regarding a possible withdrawal of the two companies on the Romanian market appeared at the beginning of the year and intensified these last days. The Bulgarian businessman Spas Rusev who in January said that he started negotiations with Deutsche Telekom for the taking over of the subsidiary in Romania has recently given details about the progress of the discussions.

Rusev announced that he was invited to lodge an offer for the Telekom Romania shares during the second round of negotiations,  the quoted source says.

OTE has already prepared the papers for a possible sale of its shares of Telekom Romania, recently operating an increase of capital of over 3.7 billion lei (approximately 800 million euro)for the division of mobile telephony Telekom Romania Mobile Communications. The money brought about by OTE will help Telekom Romania to reduce the debts of almost 4.9 billion lei recorded at the end of last year.

Who are the competitors for Telekom

RCS&RDS

RCS&RDS is among the biggest local internet suppliers, pay-tv and connected services operating in Hungary, Spain, Italy and controlled indirectly by the Oradea entrepreneur Zoltan Teszari. The mother-company Digi Communications obtained consolidated income of over 1 billion euro last year.

RCS &RDS would be interested mainly in the Telekom shares in the area o mobile telephony.

Orange

Orange Romania is the leader of the local market on the mobile telephony sector, with over 10.7 million clients and business of 1.1 billion euro. The company is owned – 99.2 % by the French group Orange. The French government  has 23% shares with Orange.

Orange would be mostly interested in land line telephony and TV – sectors where they are no extended at present.

ER-Telecom

ER-Telecom, among the first 10 telecommunications operators of Russia, is part of the holding Perm Financial and Industrial Group (PFI) controlled by Andrei Kuziaev, considered by Forbes in 2014 with a wealth of 1.2 billion dollars.

Kuziaev who is the CEO of the ER-Telecom board, owns shares to over 60 companies through PFI. The group registers annual income of more than 1 billion roubles, with operations in diverse sectors, from telecommunications to oil and financial services.

ER-Telecom is active especially in regions in the centre and southern European Russia  with telephony services, cable television and internet for almost 11 million of households in almost 570 localities. The company has in its portfolio brands such as Dom.ru, Enforta and Electronic City. 

Spas Rusev

Rusev is the main shareholder of Vivacom, the biggest telecommunications operator in Bulgaria. He took over the majority package of shares in 2016, together with the Russian financial group VTB and Delta Capital, company owned by the former Bulgarian minister of finances Milen Velchev, presently the manager of the Bulgarian subsidiary VTB Capital.

The seller of the Vivacom shares was VTB as the group became the only owner of the holding which owns the telecommunications company in 2013, after the business partner of the Russians, the tycoon Tzetan Vassilev  did not pay in due time the debt o 150 million euro to VTB.

The Bulgarian entrepreneur who has lived in London since 1991 is extremely controversial due to his connections with financiers and politicians from Russia and Bulgaria.

Besides Vivacom, Rusev owns, among others, the hotels Radisson Blu and Hilton in Sofia. He has already started his business with Telekom, taking over the former subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom of Albania with 50 million euro.

The future trading and especially who will take over the Telekom business are extremely important elements especially from the perspective of the involvement of telecom operators of Romania to supply 5G services in the context where ANCOM is prepared to launch the bid or telephony licences for the next generation.

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