SOFIA (Bulgaria), November 17 (SeeNews) - French telecommunications company Orange is considering the potential acquisition of its Bulgarian peer BTC, which operates under the Vivacom brand, French media reported on Thursday.
"Yes, [...] it is one opportunity among others," Orange CEO, Ramon Fernandez, said, Les Echos newspaper reported, citing a publication in French weekly newsletter La Lettre de l'Expansion.
In August, BTC said that a consortium led by Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev and comprising various minority investors, including a unit of Russia's VTB Group, completed the acquisition of the company. In November 2015 the consortium was announced winner of an open auction for 100% of the shares of Luxembourg-based holding company InterV Investment, BTC's sole owner, with a final bid of 330 million euro ($333.8 million).
The sale was initiated following a non-payment default at maturity in May 2015 on a 150 million euro bridge financing facility issued to the previous BTC shareholders.
BTC said on Monday its net profit halved to 6.1 million levs ($3.35 million/3.1 million euro) in the first nine months of the year from 12.5 million levs in the same period of 2015 mainly due to higher amortisation, depreciation and interconnect expenses.
The number of BTC's mobile subscribers increased by 3.9% year-on-year to 3.14 million as at end-September.
On the mobile segment, BTC competes with the Bulgarian units of Norway's Telenor and Telekom Austria, as well as with 4G operator Max.
Elsewhere in the SEE region, Moldova's antitrust regulator approved on October 18 the takeover of local cable and pay TV company Sun Communications by Orange Moldova