Maltese-registered company to
sue over lost bid for stake in Hungarian telecoms operator
A Maltese-registered investment banking company intends
suing Hungarys state owned commercial bank over the sale of its
share in fixed-line telecom operator HTCC Rt, the Hungarian press reported
The Malta registered company is M+A Capital Ltd and it plans to sue
Postabank, which sold the shares at a lower price than M+A would have
According to the report, M+A Capital claims it could have offered up
to USD36million for the 20 per cent stake in HTCC, but the sale went
to a consortium including Deutsche Bank AG, which paid only USD30 million.
The Malta company argued the sale failed to bring the Hungarian state
the maximum revenue possible, and amounts to a betrayal of private agreements
between M+A Capital and Postabank.
German Peter Klenner, a long-time visitor to Malta, and the man behind
M+A Capital, believes Postabank behaved unacceptably by negotiating
with M+A Capital to find a higher bidder and then selling the stake
for a much lower price without considering M+As bid.
The German contends that if Postabank wanted to sell for a cheaper price
it could have communicated with M+A and a deal might have been reached
as early as last April.
A spokesperson for Postabank, however, is quoted as saying the bank
made the best choice of buyer for the HTCC stake.
Postabank spokesman Attila Ószabó, said: "There were
some other opportunities beyond that offered by the winning consortium,
but those were either related to only a portion of the assets intended
for sale, or were not adequately supported in financial terms,"
he said. "Postabanks board of directors examined all opportunities
and decided to go for the most favourable offer, considering all possible
But George Gondon, an associate of M+A Capital, held that M+A Capitals
proposal was backed by solid finances and was ready to be executed.
The agreement with Deutsche Bank and its partners was announced in a
1 October, and Postabank and HTCC noted that except for Deutsche Bank
none of the other bidders has any other investment in Hungarian communications.
According to the report in the BBJ, Klenner himself founded HTCC in
1992, and served as its CEO until 1995, and remains a minority shareholder.
The report indicates that an agreement was reached between M+A and Postabank
in January 2003, when Postabank agreed to sell to the Maltese company.
Later, however, M+A informed Postabank that it would be acting as an
agent for a prominent US bank and that was accepted by Postabank.
On July 21, however, Postabank informed M+A that the price of USD36.86
million was insufficient due to the improved telecom outlook.
More recently, it was reported, Postabank informed M+A that another
potential buyer had been found and had been given exclusivity until
Klenner was not impressed: "This is a huge difference from what
we brought to the table.
"We sent a letter on September 16, 2003, whereby we offered to
initiate the purchase of the total package for USD36.9 million, less
our commission of 3.5 percent. But we received no confirmation of acceptance."
While the share capital of M+A Capital is USD750,000, The Malta Financial
and Business Times is informed that Klenner has several other business
According to the registrar of companies, M+A Capital has a one hundred
percent Maltese shareholding and directors.
HTCC operates almost 197,000 lines, serving over 668,000 customers in
five of Hungarys 54 telecom operating areas. It is registered
in the US and listed on the American Stock Exchange (Amex). Owners of
stakes in HTCC also include Tele Denmark, with 31.9 percent, and individuals
with 19.1 percent. Its stock closed trading at USD10.10 Thursday.