Croatia's largest telecom firm enters electricity market

ZAGREB Fri Dec 6, 2013 9:25am EST

ZAGREB Dec 6 (Reuters) - Croatia's biggest telecom operator, T-HT, said on Friday it would start delivering electricity to local households and companies from next week as part of diversification plans.

The country's electricity market was liberalised when Croatia joined the European Union earlier this year.

The country's main electricity supplier is state-owned Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) which controls just over 90 percent of the market. There are two other providers, GEN-I from Slovenia and RWE Energija from Germany. T-HT will be the fourth after obtaining a licence to supply electricity in October.

"Amid tough competition we preserved our position of the top telecom operator and I'm confident we can also become the main alternative electricity supplier in Croatia," T-HT's Chief Executive, Ivica Mudrinic, said in a statement.

T-HT, majority owned by Deutsche Telekom, serves some 1.3 million landline customers and around 2.4 million mobile subscribers in the country of 4.4 million people. Its main local telecom competitors are Vipnet, owned by Telekom Austria, and Sweden's Tele2.

T-HT reported a 31 percent drop in nine-month net profit to 964 million kuna ($172.27 million) and an eight percent fall in revenues to 5.21 billion kuna, largely due to growing competition and weak consumer spending. Croatia's economy is in recession for the fifth year in a row. ($1 = 5.5958 Croatian kunas) (Reporting by Igor Ilic. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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