Telekom Austria up as market digests potential of Belarus mega-deal

VIENNA (Thomson Financial) - Shares in Telekom Austria Group AG were higher in midday trade as the market digested the possible potential of an acquisition in Belarus, thought to be worth around 1.6 bln eur, the largest in the history of the company.

At 11.49 am, shares in Telekom Austria were up 1.08 pct at 18.70 eur, while the ATX was up 0.12 pct or 5.55 points at 4,492.64.

This morning, Telekom Austria confirmed media reports that its mobile unit Mobilkom is in advanced talks to acquire a mobile provider in Belarus, but could not give further details.

"While it's still too early to say, an acquisition of around 1.6 bln eur is comfortably within the buffer 2 bln eur that Telekom Austria has set aside for acquisitions," said Alfred Reisenberger head analyst at UniCredit.

Observers also pointed to Belarus' attractively low penetration rate of less than 50 pct, as only around 4.2 mln of the country's 9.7 mln population own mobile phones.