TA to finalise Velcom takeover

Telekom Austria (TA) is to fully take over a leading Belarusian mobile communications firm, it has been announced.TA, which has 16,000 employees and more than 21 million customers across Europe, said today (Tues) it finalised the purchase of 100 per cent of Minsk-based Velcom.The Austrian company headed by Hannes Ametsreiter already acquired 70 per cent of Velcom for 730 million Euros three years ago. The initial contract gave TA the option to take over the remaining 30 per cent which it will do within the next 10 days.The overall takeover price stands at around one billion Euros.TA’s subsidiary Mobiltel snapped up Bulgarian mobile communications companies Megalan Network AD and Spectrum Net AD only last month.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 six months of 2010, while its turnover dropped by 1.9 per cent to 1.169 billion Euros.The announcement of these figures fuelled speculations the Vienna-based company was considering sacking hundreds of staff in its landlines department following a dramatic decline for these products and services.