TA bags Bulgarian businesses

Telekom Austria (TA) continues to invest in Eastern Europe (EE) as it announced the acquisition of two Bulgarian companies today (Weds).Hannes Ametsreiter, general director of the firm, which dominates the Austrian mobile services market, announced TA’s subsidiary Mobiltel bought a 100 per cent interest in Spectrum Net AD and Megalan Network AD for 72 million Euros. Bulgarian competition watchdogs have yet to give the green light, he added.The TA chief said the overall value of both companies was around 83 million Euros.TA CFO Hans Tschuden announced he was convinced Spectrum Net and Megalan Network will “immediately contribute to the cash flow of the Telekom Austria Group.”Ametsreiter said: “These purchases will further strengthen our position on the Bulgarian market and ensure future growth. The acquisitions are in accordance with our group strategy.”Spectrum Net specialises in offering broadband connections in Bulgaria’s biggest cities, while Megalan Network is the leading private provider of broadband and IPTV services in the capital Sofia.The firms had earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of seven million Euros between them last year. Ametsreiter said he hoped the companies will increase their Ebitda to 9.6 million Euros this year.These takeovers come on the heels of speculations that TA are interested in buying a 50 per cent stake in Telekom Srbija, a mobile communications provider owned by the Serbian government.Germany’s Deutschen Telekom, Swedish company Telia Sonera and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom are challenging TA’s undisclosed bid with their own offers, according to a recent report by Belgrade daily newspaper Politika.TA’s earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) shrank by 14.2 per cent to 300.5 million Euros year on year in the first half of 2010m while turnover declined by 1.9 per cent to 1.169 billion Euros in the same period.TA has around 16,000 employees and more than 21 million customers in Austria and eight other European countries.Meanwhile, rumours that the company is considering laying off hundreds of landline experts over the coming months due to a dramatic decline in sales in this sector linger on.