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The Cabinet approved the sale of Ceske radiokomunikace to Bivideon for USD 177 mil.

6.9.2001 9:33
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The Czech government last night approved the sale of its 51% stake in Ceske radiokomunikace to Bivideon, a consortium of TDC and Deutsche Bank, for USD 177 mil. (CZK 6.82 bil., or CZK 431 per share). The government will also get a share of revenues from the possible sale of the parent company’s TV and radio transmission and satellite businesses (the state will get 20% of the revenue if the revenue is up to USD 150 mil., and 40% if it is more).

Although the final selling price will in the end likely be somewhat higher than the headline CZK 431 per share (dependent on the success of the sale of the transmission and satellite businesses), we believe that investors will consider this sale price as either neutral or negative (and hence the stock will likely suffer today). It will be neutral for those who had lowered their expectations in face of the long uncertainty about the selling price and adverse market conditions, and negative for those who may have expected a higher price, based on the past official and unofficial statements on the range of the consortium’s bids (CZK 9 bil., CZK 12 bil., etc.).

The very fact that the government has approved the sale is in our view positive, since the alternatives (a decision not to sell or to hold a new tender) would have been worse, and since completion of privatization is a precondition of the potential future recovery of the stock. We believe that the current market price (CZK 387.5) undervalues the combined Ceske radiokomunikace assets by some 25-30%. At the same time, a recovery towards a more reasonable valuation depends on the fortunes of the whole telecoms sector, which in our view is thinkable only in the medium and long term. Again, we expect the short-term response to be negative.

(Ondřej Daťka)

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