UPDATE: SwissCom has officially confirmed that talks with Eircom regarding a potential takeover have been broken off in the aftermath of a political row in Switzerland whereby the Swiss Government stepped in to block SwissCom from making major foreign takeovers.
In a statement this morning, the company said: “Talks on a takeover of Eircom in Ireland have been broken off.
“Over the past few days the public controversy surrounding questions related to the Swiss Government’s majority holding in SwissCom, plans for acquisitions abroad and the payout policy, has given rise to uncertainty among shareholders, customers and employees. In the course of talks with government representatives, SwissCom management has endeavoured to clarify the Government’s position on these issues and has come to a common understanding on further action.”
The Swiss Government is expected to formalise its expectations of the strategic goals of the company for the 2006-2009 period.
Until the Government’s strategic goals for 2006 to 2009 have come into force, the company says: “SwissCom has broken off talks, confirmed on 9 November with Eircom in Ireland in relation to a possible transaction. Under the circumstances SwissCom sees no possibility of a takeover bid.”
The chief executive of Eircom Dr Philip Nolan commented on the news: “The SwissCom announcement has clarified the situation between SwissCom and its majority shareholder.”
Nolan said it was business as usual at Ireland’s incumbent telecoms firm. “The process with SwissCom has not diverted us from our underlying strategy of providing a full range of telecoms services in the most vibrant economy in Europe.
“We have successfully re-entered the mobile business by acquiring Meteor and have had tremendous shareholder support to fund this move. Our DSL customer base has grown significantly from 100,000 last year to approaching 200,000 by the end of this year. Eircom is continuing to deliver on its key strategic objectives and retains its momentum,” Nolan concluded.
By John Kennedy