Intracom Shares Jump on Report of Telsim Stake Option

Shares of Intracom SA had their biggest one-day gain in more than three months after financial Web site Euro2day reported that Greece's biggest maker of phone equipment has an option to buy a 10 percent stake in Turkey's Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri AS.

The stock climbed 34 cents, or 6.9 percent, to close at 5.30 euros in Athens, valuing the business at 696 million euros ($832 million). The increase was the biggest single-day gain since September 1.

Intracom got the option to buy the stake in Turkey's second- largest cellular-phone company within the next three months after reaching an agreement with Vodafone Group Plc (VOD), Euro2day reported, citing statements made by Chairman Socrates Kokkalis to shareholders today. Vodafone on Tuesday won an auction for Telsim. Intracom Chief Executive George Deligiannis didn't immediately return calls. Vodafone spokesman Bobby Leach didn't respond to a message left on his cellphone.

Athens-based Intracom has been seeking to increase sales and profit by expanding abroad amid falling demand for its products in Greece. The company last year reported annual profit fell for a third straight year as sales slowed. The company a year ago said it would boost sales by investing abroad and expanding into telecommunications services in Greece.

An attempt to move into telecommunications services by gaining control of Internet and phone provider Forthnet SA failed last month after Forthnet management rejected the price offered as too low.

The expansion plans are partly financed by the gain from the sale of a 9.4 percent stake in Panafon SA, Vodafone Group's Greek unit. Vodafone Group paid Intracom 317 million euros ($381 million) to acquire the remaining stake in Panafon in Nov. 2003. Vodafone Group made an offer to buy out the balance Panafon shares a month later.

Kokkalis, who is also the chairman and biggest shareholder in Intralot SA, a Greek lottery operator, will also team up with Russia's AFK Sistema to bid for Russia's first nationwide lottery license, Euro2day reported, again citing Kokkalis. Intralot shares fell 8 cents to 13.82 euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Petrakis in Athens at mpetrakis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at lklemming@bloomberg.net

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