Poland's Netia to pick Polkomtel or Play as mobile partner

WARSAW Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:04am EDT

WARSAW Aug 28 (Reuters) - Poland's No.2 telecoms operator, Netia, will choose between Play and Polkomtel as its mobile partner, it said on Thursday.

"We have two platforms with which we co-operate now, that is Polkomtel and Play," Netia's Director for Investor Relations, Andrzej Kondracki told reporters.

"For sure in the new strategy we will have to determine which partner, because it is unlikely that it would be two, we will cooperate with," he added.

New management at Netia, valued in the stock market at $653 million, is to present a new strategy within weeks. The company has built its position through takeovers, but has failed to buck the trend of declining revenue from fixed-line telephone services.

Earlier this month, Polish billionaire and Netia's largest shareholder Zbigniew Jakubas said he wanted Netia to consider a tie-up with fast-growing local mobile rival Play to boost revenue growth.

Play is Poland's No.4 mobile operator, controlled by funds owned by Greek businessman Panos Germanos and Icelandic tycoon Thor Bjorgolfsson. Polkomtel, owned by media group Cyfrowy Polsat, ranks No.3 behind units of Deutsche Telekom and Orange.

Netia's new Chief Executive Adam Sawicki said on Thursday he would not exclude capital ties with Play, but would focus on building business ties first.

"The basis of every capital cooperation is business cooperation, otherwise it is a hostile takeover," Sawicki told reporters. "We are talking about building a business model that will give us an opportunity to grow."

Netia, undergoing vast shareholder and management changes, expects 2014 sales of 1.675 billion zlotys ($528 million) - 2.5 percent less than previously forecast.

($1 = 3.1734 Polish zloty) (Reporting by Jakub Iglewski; Writing by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Adrian Krajewski and Mark Potter)