The company’s CEO Rudolf Kemler, who is at the same time head of Austria’s OIAG state holding company, said it was important to his country to maintain at least 25% of Telekom, enough to influence the decisions of the former state telecoms monopoly and a company today considered of national strategic importance.
“The issue here is to maintain control, and if that is a matter of two or three percentage points or if it is over 50%, that is a secondary question. In national strategic companies, we don’t want to be left below the minority that takes decisions,” said Kemler.
State’s OIAG is currently the largest shareholder with a participation of more than 28%, while América Movil holds a bit less than 27%. Rumours say Slim might even wish to acquire the rest of Telekom Austria.
The Mexican phone operator, which owns a stake in Dutch KPN as well, is eager to invest outside of Latin America. The region that gave América Telecom its enormous power -and made of Slim the world’s wealthiest man- it has turned a place where tight regulations and unstable conditions have been pushing sales. And it seems European markets don’t oppose to see the shadow of Slim flying over the continent. Telekom closed on Friday with a gain of 1.3% to 6.60 euro, being the best performer in Europe’s telecommunications index, which lost 0.8%.
Slim is using in Europe the same strategy that turned him a mogul in Latin America – get to know the markets through small participations and alliances first and launch a more aggressive strategy later. However, his first approach last year, with the acquisition of 28% of Dutch’s Royal KPN BV, made him lose US 1.8 billion due to a sudden collapse of 39% in its share. Experts say he will need at least two years to start seeing the income statement clean.
Before entering Royal KPN, Slim was in conversations with Polish Hawe, and has shown interest in throwing the net wide over P4, Poland’s youngest mobile phone company.
“The strategy on Europe is totally positive. You’ve got steady markets as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and others in full development in Eastern Europe where Slim is now focusing”, said to this respect the CEO of Mediatelecom Policy and Law, Jorge Fernando Negrete.
According to Roberto Díaz, economics researcher at Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey, Carlos Slim might be “trying to diversify his investments and to buy cheap.” As a consequence, América Móvil might be considering to invest in developing countries of Africa and Asia as well.
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