Telekom Austria has $1 billion available to spend on acquisitions in eastern Europe, CEO Alejandro Plater is reported to have told a press conference in Vienna earlier today.
Plater said that Telekom Austria's priority was to enter new markets in the region but that spending could also go on strengthening the business in existing markets such as Belarus, Croatia and Macedonia, according to Reuters.
Majority owned by Latin America's América Móvil, Telekom Austria Group serves nearly 21 million mobile subscribers and more than 6 million fixed-line customers across the market of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Belarus, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia.
It reported revenues of €4.4 billion ($5.4 billion) in 2017, up 3% on sales in 2016, and made nearly €1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) in earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization), an increase of 2% on the 2016 figure.
The operator has already been busy on the acquisition trail, picking up assets in several markets in 2016 and 2017. Acquisitions have included Belarusian fixed-line providers Atlant Telecom and Garant, as well as Croatia's Metronet, another fixed-line operator.
With the backing of América Móvil, Telekom Austria has emerged as one of the biggest power brokers in the region and appears to be on a solid financial footing.
Its net debt was just 1.7 times EBITDA at the end of last year. Most of Europe's former state-owned telecom monopolies report net-debt-to-EBITDA ratios of between 2 and 3.
— Iain Morris, News Editor, Light Reading