VILNIUS - Scandinavia's TeliaSonera became the sole owner of Lithuania's top wireless operator, Omnitel, after acquiring a 10 percent stake from a local shareholder. The Scandinavian telecommunication giant said on Aug. 17 that it would pay $63.5 million, plus payable dividends, to the Kazickas family, which established Litcom - later to become Omnitel - in 1991.
The deal will be finalized on Aug. 24, said TeliaSonera, which also controls 60 percent of Lietuvos Telekomas, the country's dominant telecommunication operator.
The share price, estimated on the base value of the company, was based on $603 million for 100 percent of the company's shares, the Scandinavian company noted.
"We are happy that Omnitel has become the first Baltic company under full control of the TeliaSonera group. Upon integration into the leading Nordic and Baltic telecommunications group, the customers of Omnitel will be offered access to all our services and resources," said Kenneth Karlberg, TeliaSonera president for Norway, Denmark and the Baltic states.
In August 2003, TeliaSonera acquired 35 percent of Omnitel from U.S. Motorola, thereby boosting its holding to 90 percent.
Omnitel reported sales of 394 million litas (114 million euros) for the first six months of 2004, a rise of 6.2 percent compared with 2003.
The operator is projecting annual sales to exceed 800 million litas this year.
As of late June the list of Omnitel subscribers had expanded by 8.2 percent (or 87,000) to 1.139 million, giving the company 47 percent of the domestic wireless market.