Greece’s OTE selling HellasSat, for real…

The joke in the industry – totally unfairly – is that Greece’s national telco OTE started looking for a buyer of HellasSat just before the foundation stones were laid on the Athens Acropolis.

However, OTE is now beginning to get some traction from sales efforts on other parts of its non-local portfolio of assets.  Globul, its Bulgarian subsidiary, is on the sales forecourt and as it has been confirmed that the UK’s Citigroup has been commissioned to act as a consultant in the transaction. The Bulgarian phone services provider is expected to fetch the Greek telecom operator some €800 million.

Bulgarian reports said that among Globul’s suitors are Turkey’s Turkcell, Britain’s Vodafone and France’s Orange. Should the sale come to a successful conclusion, it will help plug OTE’s significant funding gap. By August 2013 it must repay some €3.1 billion, while its cash reserves currently amount to no more than €1.4 billion.

Local reports confirm that OTE is also set to proceed with the sale of HellasSat, but as we mentioned earlier, that decision also depends on finding a willing buyer and prepared to pay for a not very special satellite (and one that’s carrying a part-military payload) operating in a crowded part of the sky with plenty of overlapping services.

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