The chairwoman of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), the state-owned telecom, said its Greek unit Cyta Hellas will continue to generate losses and must therefore seek a strategic investor, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Monday.
“The financial situation of the company as well as its value have been examined,” Rena Rouvitha-Panou was cited as telling lawmakers of the finance committee on Monday. “We see that the no matter what the company’s value is, it will continue to need significant financing in the future. Therefore, we have to actively seek a strategic investor interest”.
CNA reported that while Cyta will cover its Greek unit’s losses for this year, projected to reach €15.6m, the council of ministers will have to revise its budget as it initially provided for a €8m shortfall. Cyta is projected to generate a net profit of €59m.
Rouvitha added that “despite the value of Cyta Hellas, the figures talk for themselves”.
According to the auditor-general, Cyta Hellas’s net value stood at €750.8m in 2015, compared to €777.9m the year before. In 2015, the company generated a pre-tax loss of €2.7m compared to a loss of €15.2m in 2014, raising its accumulated losses since it was established ten years ago, to €145.1m. The company’s turnover rose to €107.7m in 2015, from €90.5m the year before.
State telecom Cyta, which operates as a semi-governmental organisation, was part of the government’s privatisation agenda until early last year, before political opposition forced it to withdraw a bill to establish Cyta Ltd.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said the government was considering alternatives to the complete privatisation in an attempt to gain political support in attracting a strategic investor to the company, which is losing market share to the competition.
“By the time we are done with Cyta Hellas, there won’t be any Cyta Cyprus,” Disy leader and House finance committee chairman Averof Neofytou said according to CNA.
Neofytou asked Cyta to provide data on the company’s cost to the taxpayer as well as the names of its past directors.
“They shouldn’t come (to ask) for a cent before this document comes in,” he said.