Fitch affirms OTE ĹBBBĺ rating

Fitch Rating has affirmed OTE long-term issuer default rating at ‘BBB’ with stable outlook due to the strong, leading position in the Greece telecommunication market despite the slowdown of the local economy, according to the press release remitted by the rating agency.

“The ratings are underpinned by OTE's strong, leading positions in the domestic fixed-line and mobile markets despite rising competition and a slowdown in the local economy. They also reflect the growth of its international mobile assets and its healthy cash flow generation capability”, reads OTE’s press release.

The ratings also take into account the slowdown in overall growth, the heavy regulatory environment and competitive pressures.

Romtelecom’s revenue growth (1.1%) for first nine months in 2008 reverse the declining trend in number of landline and retail traffic which was impacted by competition, mainly from cable operators, NewsIn informs.

Cosmote Romania continued to outperform in first nine months this year, with more than 5.2 million subscribers in total. In third quarter, 2008, Cosmote Romania achieved a 21% market share.

Fitch notes that despite the increasing debts due to Q4 share buybacks, the business profile of the company maintains solid and should support a gradual reimbursement of debts on a long term.

Cosmote’s activity will be aided healthy cash-flow generation and planned divestiture of assets and Cosmofon over the medium term.

Fitch says OTE can benefit from the presence of the new shareholder, Deutsche Telekom that acquired 25% in the company.

Cosmote, is the main growth driver OTE and continues to register solid results in first nine months of 2008, with total revenues up 7.4% and a 48% share of group’s EBITDA.

Fitch expects Cosmote Romania to report positive results in 2008.

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