The media and telecom company United Group has provided a timely insight into strategy across Southeast Europe.
Timely in the sense in that it has come in response to reports that it plans to sell its operator Telemach, which has a presence in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro. These first appeared in the Slovenian publication Finance and have since spread throughout the region.
While the reports appear to be quite recent, late last year Bloomberg said that United Group was planning to sell mobile tower assets in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia for $1 billion in order to reduce its debts. This may not yet have happened, but, rather than selling Telemach, seems closer to the truth.
Indeed, United Group has, at least unofficially, denied that it wants to sell Telemach. It has also provided a detailed explanation of its strategy, which mirrors that currently being adopted by other leading telcos in Europe. Put simply, “in line with current market practice, we plan to monetise our mobile base station infrastructure in some of the countries in which United Group operates, including Croatia”.
United Group has also pointed out that it is one of the few European telcos that owns 100% of its mobile and landline infrastructure.
In any case, selling Telemach would probably make little sense given that it has developed into a key asset for United Group. In Croatia, for instance, it has just completed the first phase of an investment cycle that has made 10 giga services available to over 100,000 households in five cities. Late last year, it also completed the acquisition of the DTH platform Total TV, which was previously part of United Group before being sold to V-Investment Holdings in January 2018.
Ultimately, United Group is still very much in a growing phase and unlikely to sell such assets.
For more information about Chris Dziadul, please visit https://www.chrisdziadul.com