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Swisscom to retain broadcasting arm

Swisscom's transmitters broadcast the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation's programmes

(Keystone)

The broadcasting division of Switzerland's largest telecommunications operator, Swisscom, is to remain in the company's hands.

The business, which employs 200 staff, is to be developed and transferred to a subsidiary company.

It has more than 3,000 transmitters and relay stations, in what is one of the world's most dense television and radio networks.

Swisscom announced in September that it was considering selling the broadcasting division because of its plan to focus on its core telecommunications business.

In a statement, the company said that its decision to reconsider the sale was in response to parliament's concerns about the political and security implications if broadcasting activities were to fall into foreign hands.

The presidents of the Swiss parliamentary commissions dealing with security issues have welcomed the decision.

The company's chief executive, Jens Alder, said the sale would have made economic sense. "But we realised that the image of Swisscom among the public would have suffered."

He also referred to the symbolic character of the installations, for example on top of the Säntis mountain and on the Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Oberland.

Swisscom said that after carefully considering all the offers concerned and making a detailed assessment, it was decided the best solution would be to continue to develop the "successful area of business" within the Swisscom group.

Swisscom Broadcasting is a specialised sector, whose activities include the transmission of television and radio channels for SRG SSR idée Suisse (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation) and numerous other private organisations, and the provision of associated services.

Among Swisscom Broadcasting's most important customers are Swiss National Radio DRS and cable network operators.

The division contributes less than two per cent to Swisscom's overall revenues. It is estimated that its sale would have fetched up to SFr500 million ($295.86 million).

swissinfo with agencies


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