OTE gets €389m loan for IP network transformation
Greek incumbent operator OTE has negotiated loans worth €389 million to help fund its €1.3 billion investment in next generation access (NGA) over the next four years.
Most of the loan comes via a syndicated facility arranged by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) but €50 million is from a parallel bilateral loan from the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB).
“For the next four years, we are implementing an ambitious €1.3 billion investment plan. Our country needs networks and telecommunications of high standards to return to a growth track,” said OTE’s chairman and CEO, Michael Tsamaz.
OTE – which is 40% owned by Deutsche Telekom – said that its investment plan in Greece includes the development of NGA, the IP network transformation, as well as the launch of innovative products and services.
Investments in NGA are an important lever for economic growth and business development, said OTE, offering to consumers faster internet, improved quality and wider coverage, bridging the digital divide.
OTE said the investment will not only support the growth of the Greek economy but also contribute substantially to Greece achieving the European Union’s Digital Agenda for Europe 2020 targets.
EBRD, based in London, was originally focused on providing loans for former Soviet bloc countries to help their development. The mandated lead arranger of its syndicated loan is the National Bank of Greece, and lead arrangers are HSBC and Hellenic Bank. BSTDB, based in Thessaloniki, Greece, is a development bank serving the 11 countries that are members of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, a regional economic organization.
Dirk Werner, EBRD’s director for information and communication technologies, said the loan is “sending a very strong signal to the market that the Greek financial market is open for business again. We hope that this will encourage other investors to take a close look at the opportunities Greek companies are offering.”