The Croatian telecommunications company Hrvatski Telekom (HT) signed an agreement on Tuesday to buy 76.53 percent of shares in Montenegro's Crnogorski Telekom from Hungary's Magyar Telekom for EUR 123.5 million, which is HT's first major regional acquisition.
"We have long had an ambition to become a regional player, but circumstances were always limited, and now we have managed to effect the purchase of a stake in Crnogorski Telekom," HT said in a press release on Tuesday, adding that the transaction would be completed by the end of January.
The Croatian company said it was still interested in other acquisitions in the region as well.
The purchase was triggered by a tender that was carried out in Montenegro last summer for frequencies in the range of 800 MHz, the basis for the launch of Fourth-Generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) telecommunications services.
"We are buying the majority stake in Crnogorski Telekom with our own funds, we did not take out a loan, and this will not affect our investments and plans in Croatia. The price we paid is fair, as confirmed by an independent consultant," HT said.
Given that it is an intergroup transaction, there is no need for opinions of the regulators because both Magyar Telekom and HT are members of the Deutsche Telekom Group, the Croatian company said, adding that the transaction is independent of DT.
Crnogorski Telekom (CT) is the largest telecommunications company in Montenegro. In the first nine months of 2016 it generated revenues of EUR 69.4 million, while EBITDA reached EUR 24 million. At the end of September 2016 it had nearly 370,000 mobile phone users, or 32 percent of all mobile phone users in Montenegro, while Telenor had 38.3 percent of users. CT also serves 140,300 land-line telephone users, or 93.6 per cent, and 73,000 broadband Internet users, and its optical cable network covers 27 percent of Montenegrin households.
Magyar Telekom was the majority owner of CT since 2005 and will now focus more on the Hungarian market.