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CORPORATE BRIEFS

Dutch firm buys Siemens' stake in Slovak cable TV operator

The Dutch firm United-Pan European Communications said on March 5 it had reached agreement with Siemens Austria to buy the latter's 95.63% stake in Slovakia's SKT cable television network.

UPC said it would be paying 37 million euros for the operator, which is active in and around Bratislava. SKT, founded in 1992, is the largest cable TV provider in the Slovak Republic, with around 156,000 subscribers in or near Bratislava.

"Together with its own 25,000 customers, UPC will become the largest cable television company in Slovakia," UPC said.

UPC said it now has about 750,000 homes in central and eastern Europe connected to its network.

Besides Bratislava, SKT operates in the Slovak towns of Dunajská Streda, Banská Bystrica, Žilina, Trenčín and Dolný Kubín. SKT director Peter Hornof indicated that companies from the United States, Slovakia and other EU countries had also shown interest in acquiring SKT, whose annual turnover is about 200 million Slovak crowns ($4.5 million).

UPC operates in ten European countries and Israel. From Central and Eastern Europe UPC has been engaged in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. After acquisition of SKT, the UPC cable network will report 750,000 users.

UPC manager Mark Schneider revealed that thanks to the proximity of Vienna to Bratislava, the eastern European television cable network could be linked to the western part of Europe very quickly.

The Dutch-based company was recently floated in Amsterdam and on Nasdaq. United International Holdings retained a majority stake.

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