October 18, 2013 / 12:23 PM / 7 years ago

Telekom Austria says does not expect hostile move by Carlos Slim

VIENNA (Reuters) - Telekom Austria Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter said on Friday he did not expect key shareholder Carlos Slim’s America Movil to make any unfriendly moves towards the Austrian company.

A communications tower is pictured at Telekom Austria's technology centre in Vienna August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

“The Mexicans have shown themselves to be good partners. One thing I think they won’t do is to act in a hostile way. I think you can rule that out,” he told the Gewinn Messe retail investor fair.

He added he did not know if America Movil intended to increase its near 23 percent stake.

Speculation about a potential move on Telekom Austria emerged after America Movil dropped its takeover offer this week for Dutch group KPN, the other company Slim had targeted as a bridgehead for expanding into Europe.

Telekom Austria shares were down 1.4 percent at 6.271 euros by 1235 GMT, while the Stoxx European telecoms sector index rose 0.5 percent.

Asked about prospects for a capital increase, Ametsreiter said: “The issue does not arise at the moment,” adding such things were communicated only when decided.

He was speaking after sources close to the situation told Reuters the company was unlikely to use a quick capital increase to finance its purchase of next-generation mobile frequency spectrum in its home market.

“Telekom has no short-term financing problems. There is enough liquidity available,” said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“A capital increase is not a topic for the short term,” another source added.

Bids for Austria’s new telecoms frequencies had approached 2 billion euros ($2.73 billion) by the time the auction - now nearing its conclusion - entered its fourth week.

The final cost of purchasing the frequencies remains a secret. Results of the auction are expected next week, people familiar with the process said.

Some analysts have expected a high auction price to trigger a capital hike at Telekom Austria, which the market had expected to spend around 300-400 million euros on the auction.

Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields; Editing by Greg Mahlich and David Evans

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