Italy's Wind establishes telecom JV in Greece

Italy's Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA has agreed to set up a joint venture with Greece's Public Power Corp. (PPC) to provide broadband telecommunication services to the Greek market, the two companies announced Wednesday.

Wind will have a 50 percent plus one share stake in the new company with the rest being owned by PPC, Greece's monopoly electricity utility, Wind said in a prepared statement. The new company, to be called Evergy, will offer fixed telephony, multimedia services and Internet access, it said.

The new company will establish a national backbone of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) of fiber-optic cable and a 400 kilometer (250 mile) metropolitan area network in 23 cities, making use of PPC's extensive electricity grid, the statement said. The companies plan to invest 839 million euros (US$755 million) between now and 2011, mainly on infrastructure, it said.

The joint venture is expected to achieve revenue of 350 million euros in 2005 and aims to become Greece's second largest fixed telephony operator by 2006, Wind said. By the end of the decade, the company expects to have about 1.5 million fixed-telephony customers, both business and residential, and 500,000 Internet subscribers, it said. Internet penetration in Greece currently stands at 6 percent, but is expected to rise to 24 percent within the next three years, Wind said.

For Wind, which is controlled by Italy's electricity utility ENEL SpA and France Telecom SA, this is the first step in a program of international expansion, the statement said.

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