The EBRD is helping to increase private ownership and to boost competition in Polish telecommunications sector with an equity investment of up to €200 million equivalent in Polish Zloty in Metelem Holding. The transaction, which is the Bank’s largest equity investment in Poland to date, will facilitate the privatisation of Polkomtel, a leading mobile operator in the country.
Polkomtel is currently majority controlled by four state Polish entities. The UK-based Vodafone also holds a minority stake in the company. Following an open tender, Metelem Holding, controlled by the Polish entrepreneur Zygmund Solorz-Żak, was selected as the preferred bidder for Polkomtel’s acquisition.
Through this investment the EBRD will acquire a 16.2 per cent stake in Metelem Holding. The transaction will enable the company to finalise the purchase of Polkomtel.
The EBRD financing will also help Polkomtel to accelerate the launch of 4G mobile broadband services, currently unavailable in Poland. In addition, the project will strengthen Polkomtel’s corporate governance and improve management efficiency.
“We are pleased to continue our cooperation with Mr. Zygmund Solorz-Żak in this new field. Supporting privatisation of state-owned companies is one of the EBRD’s priorities in the current economic environment in Poland and through this investment we are contributing to Polkomtel’s further development into a strong player in the Polish telecommunications sector,” said Alain Pilloux, EBRD Managing Director for Industry, Commerce and Agribusiness.
“The participation of such an important and respected financial institution in a transaction for acquiring Polkomtel means ensuring additional, solid and stable financing for this transaction. I strongly believe that the EBRD’s involvement in Polkomtel’s shareholding confirms the financial stability of the transaction and supports our project to develop together a nationwide high-speed wireless network,” said Zygmund Solorz-Żak.
Since the beginning of its operations in Poland, the EBRD has committed over €5 billion in more than 280 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy with a total value of in excess of €18 billion.