UAE telecoms company e& has said a European Commission investigation into the acquisition of PPF Telecom’s assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia is ‘a procedural step’.

The investigation, under the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) follows e&’s announcement last year that it signed a binding agreement to acquire a 50% +1 stake in both the service and infrastructure companies of PFF’s East European companies, with the exception of the Czech Republic business. 

“The European Commission’s decision to open an in-depth investigation is a procedural step, which does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

“E& remains fully committed to the transaction with a view to closing it before year-end,” a statement to Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) said. 

The company said it continues to be in constructive discussions with the European Commission and is working cooperatively towards a conclusion of the authority's foreign subsidies regulation review.

PFF, which has bases in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, was reported in June 2023 to have lost millions of euros related to its withdrawal from Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, according to a report on the website of the Prague Stock Exchange (PX). It posted a profit of EUR 140 million  ($151 million) in 2022, down 49% year-on-year.

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by  Seban Scaria)