Telekom planning £1.7bn US offering

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The Independent Online
Deutsche Telekom, the German state-owned telecommunications monopoly, is to place shares worth up to DM4bn (£1.7bn) in the US in the first stage of its privatisation. Joachim Kroeske, finance director, said the company planned a DM15bn equity iss ue in two stages starting next year, placing about 60 per cent of the shares in the offer in Germany.

He added, however, that the plan might be altered to favour foreign investors because of concerns that the German market would not be able to absorb the shares. The company is worried its placing might clash with a series of other telecommunications listings expected over the next two years.

There is also a view that small investors might be deterred by high fees charged by banks on share transactions. Only one German in 20 owns shares. Mr Kroesk said: "We will have to see how we can reach the broad public in Germany."

The privatisation of Deutsche Telekom will be one of the largest attempted. The company hopes to seek listings in London and in Tokyo. The proceeds from the issues will be used to pay off debt and increase capital by DM5bn to DM15bn. Telekom's lead bankers are Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Dresdner Bank.

Mr Kroeske said he hoped the company would need to produce only one set of accounts if it achieved its aim of a listing in New York. Telekom hopes to avoid the situation faced by Daimler-Benz, which produces separate accounts for the German and US authorities.

"The time is ripe for every bourse to accept the same accounting rules. I think 1995 will be the decisive year," he said.

Telekom aims to increase sales to DM80bn by the year 2000 from DM64bn in 1994, in spite of plans to cut the workforce by 30,000 to 200,000.