Swisscom is to sell its minority shareholding in Austrian-based UTA Telekom AG to the joint owner Vereinigte Telekom Österreich Beteiligungs GesmbH (VTÖB). The parties involved have agreed not to disclose the price.
VTÖB will take over all of Swisscom´s 45.5% stake in UTA. Swisscom will waive loan claims in respect of UTA to the tune of CHF 210 million. A value adjustment to this effect will be booked in fiscal year 2001.
VTÖB, which is composed of eight regional Austrian utilities, will continue to develop UTA´s fixed-network and Internet activities together with the Austrian Raiffeisen Group. UTA, the largest alternative fixed-line operator currently employs 640 persons. The commercial links between Swisscom and UTA will be maintained. The closing is subject to the approval of the monopolies commission and the responsible bodies.
Swisscom acquired a majority stake in UTA in May 1998. In November 2000 this was reduced to 45.5% as a result of the takeover of Netway Communications AG which meant Swisscom giving up of its UTA shares to the Austrian Raiffeisen Group.
The disposal is in line with Swisscom´s international strategy of focussing on mobile service providing and data business.