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Eircom will pitch firm to three potential bidders

Eircom executives will make presentations to three potential bidders for the beleaguered telecoms firm next week, the Irish Independent has learned.

Aside from Singapore Technologies Telemedia, the case for investment in the firm will also be made to two private equity bidders, industry sources confirmed yesterday.

It is understood that a number of European telecoms giants, including France Telecom, are also watching developments at the firm, which has been put up for sale by its 57pc shareholder and Australian fund, Eircom Holdings, formerly known as Babcock & Brown Capital (BCM).


It is believed that a deadline of June 30 set by BCM to find a new owner for Eircom has been extended.

It is not clear whether Australian financier Rob Topfer, whose €97m unsolicited bid for BCM was rejected in mid-April, will be submitting another bid for the company, which, apart from Eircom, owns the Israeli Golden Pages.

A restructuring of Eircom's €4bn debt will be a key challenge for any investor in the firm, which also has a significant hole in its pension fund.

Irish businessman Sean Melly, who has been associated with a potential bid for the former state telecoms firm over the past number of weeks, will not attend the presentations.

Telecoms entrepreneur Mr Melly was involved in a failed €150m bid to acquire Eircom's masts through Powerscourt Investments, the private equity firm he chairs, back in 2007. It is understood he is interested in Eircom and is currently trying to raise capital.

The Eircom Employee Share Ownership Trust, made up of former and current employees at the firm, which owns 35pc of Eircom, may also invest in the company in the future.


Eircom is currently going through a restructuring which will involve the loss of 1,200 jobs by 2011.

It is also looking to cut costs by up to €150m per annum as competition from the mobile sector continues to bite against the backdrop of the recession.

In the past few weeks, the company has appointed former Vodafone Ireland boss Paul Donovan as chief executive.

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He will take over the reins from acting chief executive Cathal Magee later this year, replacing Australian Rex Comb, who left Eircom at the end of February.

The employment package agreed with Mr Donovan contains a special clause to protect him in the event of the company changing hands.

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