Greece’s cash-strapped mobile phone operator Wind Hellas invited bids for the company, which is restructuring its debt for the second time in just over seven months.
Wind, owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, also got a standstill agreement from creditors to defer until Nov. 5 debt payments of at least €17.5 million ($21.41 million), plus other interest and hedge counterparty payments.
The standstill agreement will give the company breathing space to explore options for improving liquidity and stabilize its capital structure, Wind said in a statement.
“The process … will involve working with the group’s creditors to assist in structuring a creditor-led solution as an alternative, or supplement, to any offers from strategic and financial investors or offers from other creditor groups,” the statement said.
Interested buyers will submit non-binding bids by July 31 and binding offers by Sept. 15. Wind will pick a preferred bidder by Oct. 14. The company is advised by Morgan Stanley, White & Case and Karatzas Partners.
Sawiris’ holding company Weather Investments last year won a battle to keep control of the debt-laden firm, beating off a rival restructuring deal from a group of subordinated bondholders.
Under that deal, Weather, which has owned Wind Hellas since 2007, injected about €125 million into the company and restructured €3.2 billion ($3.9 billion) of debt.
But recession and austerity measures passed by the Greek government in exchange for a €110 billion international bailout earlier this year hurt the telecommunications business, derailing Wind’s post-restructuring business plan.
Weather Investments also owns Cairo-based Orascom Telecom and Italian operator Wind Telecomunicazione.
Weather called off talks to sell Orascom Telecom assets to South Africa’s MTN this month after they floundered over Algerian government opposition to a sale there, the prize asset in the deal.