UAE’s e& enters Central and East Europe, buys majority stake in PPF Telecom

The Abu Dhabi-listed firm said it bought a 50 per cent plus 1 share stake in European company


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Tue 1 Aug 2023, 9:04 PM

Last updated: Tue 1 Aug 2023, 10:05 PM

e&, earlier known as Etisalat, on Tuesday said it acquired a controlling stake in PPF Telecom Group’s assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia.

The Abu Dhabi-listed firm said it bought a 50 per cent plus 1 share stake in the European company.

The acquisition will be under e& international, the telecom vertical of e& in global markets.

The perimeter will comprise of the Yettel Bulgaria, Yettel Hungary, Yettel Serbia, and O2 Slovakia operations, with more than 10 million subscribers and leading positions in their respective markets, as well as the CETIN and O2 Networks infrastructure businesses in these countries.

The upfront consideration for the acquisition is €2,150 million (Dh8.66 billion). The transaction is also subject to up to €350 million (Dh1.41 billion) in earn-out payments to PPF if the PPF Telecom assets exceed certain financial targets within the three-year period after closing and is subject to a clawback if such financial targets are not achieved.

The PPF Telecom’s infrastructure businesses in each of these four countries are fully carved out and managed independently of the service companies.

e& and PPF aim to realise significant scope for synergies between the two groups, with sizeable opex and capex savings and multiple opportunities for the roll-out of the leading suite of e&’s B2B and B2C digital products in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

The partners will retain current PPF Telecom CEO Balesh Sharma.

“We are delighted to announce e&'s strategic expansion into the European market. With this move, we join forces with PPF to build and expand our international footprint in the attractive Central and Eastern Europe region and beyond. It is the next step of our transformation into a global technology group, offering e& multiple avenues to roll out its leading suite of B2B and B2C digital products in the CEE with significant synergies,” said Jassem Mohamed Obaid Bu Ataba Alzaabi, Chairman, e&.

“The PPF Telecom portfolio, spanning four countries, exhibits a well-balanced structure, underpinned by robust macroeconomic fundamentals and stable currencies. The countries of its operations are characterised by regulatory stability, healthy competition, and highly attractive returns, positioning them among the most promising in Europe,” he said.

e& said it remained on track to meet its 2030 net-zero target with the implementation of climate action projects in its UAE operations. etisalat by e&'s first deployments of energy-efficient radio equipment have reduced energy consumption by 52 per cent compared to previously deployed radio equipment. The reduction in energy consumption is equivalent to 7.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions per site per year for high-level sites configured with LTE carriers.


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