Prague, March 21 (CTK) – PPF investment group of richest Czech Petr Kellner has agreed with Norway’s company Telenor to buy its mobile operators in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, for which it will pay EUR2.8bn (about Kc71bn), with the deal waiting to be approved by respective antitrust offices, PPF said in a press release today.
Completion of the transaction is estimated in June 2018, PPF said.
PPF has gained full control over Telenor’s telecommunication assets in said countries, the right to use the Telenor name by the middle of 2021, and real estate used for the company operation.
PPF is expanding its telecommunication portfolio by four more countries achieving its long-term goal to become middle-sized European operator, said PPF shareholder Ladislav Bartonicek responsible for telecommunication.
The group wants to use its experience to strengthen its market position, Bartonicek said.
PPF will take a EUR3.025bn loan from a consortium of banks BNP Paribas Fortis, Credit Agricole, Ceska sporitelna, HSBC Bank, Societe Generale and UniCredit Bank for the purpose.
Societe Generale is the financing agent and Komercni banka is the reinsurance agent. This financing is the biggest syndicated loan in Central and East European countries since 2011.
PPF is significantly firming its position on the European telecommunication market, however, the competition from Western European companies will remain strong, Finlord company analyst Boris Tomciak said.
The investment will raise PPF’s assets by roughly 8 percent, Tomciak said.
The telecommunication sector usually thrives even when economic conditions worsen, BH Securities analyst Martin Vlcek said.
Telenor is a leading provider of telecommunication and mobile services in Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia, having 178 million clients and generating EUR12.7bn (Kc323bn) in turnover in 2017.
PPF Group owns over 80 percent in Czech and Slovak O2 operator, and controls the Czech Republic’s largest telecommunication network owner CETIN.
PPF group invests in a number of sectors, including banking and financial services, insurance, real estate, agriculture, and biotechnologies. It operates in Europe, Russia, Asia and North America.
PPF’s assets reached nearly EUR35bn (Kc890bn) in the middle of last year.