Investment company Novator, owned by Icelandic entrepreneur Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, sold its controlling stake in the Bulgarian telecommunications company BTC to the US-based Global Investment Group AIG yesterday.
According to Fréttabladid, BTC is worth ISK 160 billion (USD 2.5 billion, EUR 1.8 billion).
Novator owned 85 percent of shares in BTC and booked a profit of ISK 55 to 60 billion (USD 858 million to 936 million, EUR 631 million to 688 million) from the sale. Other Icelandic investors, who owned a stake in the company, booked a profit ISK 6 billion (USD 94 million, EUR 69 million), which, according to mbl.is, is the highest profit from a single investment in the history of Icelandic business.
Novator originally acquired a 65 percent stake in BTC when it was privatized in 2004 in cooperation with several investment companies, including Advent International, Straumur, Burdarás and Iceland Telecom.
In 2005 and 2006, Novator increased its stake to 85 percent. The dividends since 2004 paid out to the investors correspond to five times the amount of the original investment.
Björgólfsson told Morgunbladid he was very satisfied with the outcome. He had taken on a complicated task in modernizing a previously state-owned telecommunications company.
Björgólfsson said Novator’s goals had been achieved after a short time and therefore it was time to sell BTC. “We have profited well and have a good reputation in Bulgaria and in the international market.”
AIG acquired a 90 percent stake in BTC and plans to acquire the remaining shares and de-list the company from the Stock Exchange in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital.