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Austrian firm buys Ukraine telecoms giant

March 11, 2011

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KIEV, Ukraine—Ukraine's State Property fund says it has sold state telecommunications company Ukrtelecom for $1.3 billion to an Austrian investment firm.

The agency said Friday that Epic, a Vienna-based privatization and investment company, purchased some 93 percent of the fixed-line operator. The long-overdue sale had been postponed for years due to political infighting.

The government had planned to sell Ukrtelecom in an auction late last year, but Epic turned out to be the only bidder and the government opted for a direct sale.

Analysts said Epic will have to make major investments into the company to make it effective at a time when Ukrainians are increasingly switching from fixed-line to mobile phones.

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