Saudi's Arabsat inks $278m Greek deal

Gulf-based satellite TV company will buy unit of Greece's biggest telecoms operator

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Greece's biggest telecoms operator OTE has agreed to sell its satellite unit Hellas SAT to Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat for 208 million euros ($278m) as part of measures to cut its debt.

OTE, managed and partly-owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom, has been cutting costs and selling assets to cope with its debt load amid a severe austerity-fuelled recession in its two biggest markets, Greece and Romania.

"We achieved a significant agreement," said OTE's chief executive Michael Tsamaz in a statement adding that the value of the deal was "satisfying".

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of the year, OTE said in a statement.

Standard and Poor's on Monday upgraded OTE's credit rating after the company sold 700 million euros of new bonds on January 30, in a sign of debt markets gradually opening for the cash-strapped country's firms.

OTE has also said it plans to sell its Bulgarian unit Globul, but sources have said that it might reconsider the sale after the successful bond issue last month.

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