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Naguib Sawiris Offers to Buy Greek Telecoms Network

Naguib Sawiris Offers to Buy Greek Telecoms Network

­Egypt’s Naguib Sawiris has made a binding offer to buy Greek telco, Wind Hellas after the company was put up for sale for missing its debt payments. The bid includes a fresh injection of cash and a partial debt-for-equity swap with creditors giving up some of their claims in exchange for shares in a restructured company.

Although Sawiris brougth the company last year following a bankruptcy, it is now controlled by its creditors as it struggles under a high debt mountain. Wind Hellas has about EUR 1.8 billion of debt. The company has hired Morgan Stanley, White & Case and Karatzas & Partners to advise it on the discussions with its creditors.

“It will be the bondholders who decide what’s best for the company and its creditors,” Sawiris told Bloomberg News. “I am committed to Greece and the cash injection would give Wind Hellas the ammunition to fight back in the price war,” Sawiris said.

Norway’s Telenor has also been named as a possible bidder for the company, although it has refused to comment on the reports. Greek rivals, On Telecoms and IT group Info-Quest were also reported to be interested in bidding for Wind Hellas, as was U.S. private equity firm Saban Capital

Last month, the company reported a 28 percent drop in its second quarter revenues of EUR 202.3 million (US$257.3 million), while EBITDA more than halved to EUR 39.1 million. Wind Hellas’ operating performance has been hit by the economic recession and further regulatory pressures in the form of mobile termination rate (MTR) cuts, but most importantly by an aggressive price war amongst mobile competitors.

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