Bobolas: The shareholders are responsible for the closing down of MEGA

Bobolas: The shareholders are responsible for the closing down of MEGA

Athens, August 3, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The loans of the “Pegasus” Group, amounting to EUR 160 mln are both updated and serviced regularly, told the House Committee that investigates the case of the lending of political parties and SMEs the president and CEO of the group, Fotis Bobolas. According to Bobolas, in this sum is included the bond of EUR 80 mln, which was approved in 2014 and disbursed in 2016. This loan, he added, has been “frozen” and its interest worth EUR 3.5 mln has been paid regularly.

Responding to questions from Committee members regarding the loans of Pegasus, Fotis Bobolas said that banks have requested and received collateral amounting to around EUR 112 mln and were based on the fact that the Pegasus turnover was EUR 240 mln and the turnover of TELETYPOS EUR 180 mln,  which as he argued, made the loan contracts signed at the time fully justified. Continuing, he argued that before the crisis banks were granting loans without collateral, but after the crisis banks sought and obtained guarantees, such as the property of the group in Halandri, the titles of newspapers and publications, the future revenues of the forms directly from the press distribution agency, etc.

Referring to the borrowing of “TELETYPOS SA”, in which, as he stated, Pegasus participates with a percentage of 32.5%, he said that the total debt of the company amounts to EUR 103 mln, which is not being served and has been denounced by the banks. On the borrowing of TELETYPOS, he added, guarantees include a large piece of land owned by the group and its video library, which has been valued by an international company at about EUR 80 mln and covers most of the loan.

“If no solution is found, then the assets will be liquidated and liabilities will be covered to banks, while the employees will be paid”, Bobolas pointed out.

Asked whether the MEGA has a specific political orientation, he said the information provided by Mega are “objective and pluralistic as the station does not only belong to one shareholder”.

Invited to comment on statements issued by MEGA’s news director Manolis Kapsis on the channel’s exclusion from the licensing procedure, Bobolas said that “the news director of MEGA had no such mandate from the Governing Council nor did he have any such direction from the Board of TELETYPOS”, which he said, “hasn’t met in some time”.

In regard to the non-participation in the capital increase of TELETYPOS from other shareholders, he said he had agreed that PEGASUS would participate in this capital increase, but “there was no response from the other two, and I alone could not lift the TELETYPOS operating weight”.

As regards, finally, to his own participation in the company STOIXIMAN.GR, he said that the company is European and legally operating in Greece, while himself and his wife participate in it. The taxation of the company is at 35%, which as Mr. Bobolas said, is the largest in Europe, which has 25% rates.

He also said that in STOIXIMAN.GR also participates Mr. Maris, whom said he had proposed to participate in the capital increase at MEGA. He had done similar proposals to other businessmen, but the effort to broaden the shareholders ultimately did not work.

He also denied that he used MEGA to serve his business interests or to have better treatment from banks. “I’m not interlaced. Both I and my brother have been targeted because our participation in companies is evident, and is not done through other companies or other persons”, Bobolas said.

For problems and delays in salaries of employees of the station, he said that today EUR 25 mln from the film library are being held by banks and can not be used for salaries.

“I strengthened MEGA through ANOSI SA. I got a loan, mortgaging my house to pay the employees, but there are shareholders who participate in other media and are not interested. In what concerns me I did what I could. For the current state of MEGA those at fault are its shareholders”, Bobolas stressed and concluded by saying that Mega was launched with the participation of many publishing groups but he does not wish to participate in the new situation that is being formed.