SmartWorld seeks Greek telco for joint venture

SmartWorld seeks Greek telco for joint venture

ASX-listed home automation manufacturer SmartWorld has entered into an agreement with Greek telecommunications company OTE to form a new company, Smart Home Hellas.

SmartWorld produces a range of products designed to consolidate high-speed Internet, phone, lights, home entertainment systems, irrigation systems and home alarms across a single platform. The platform, referred to as a home gateway, can be used to manage all connected electrical devices in the home.

Under the terms of the agreement, the new venture will be responsible for importing home gateways, the purchase of complementary products from Greece and elsewhere, and the determination of local market needs, SmartWorld said in a statement to the ASX. Smart Home Hellas also has an option to purchase the manufacturing licence for the gateway.

OTE is the largest listed company on the Greek Stock Exchange and is looking to use the joint venture to provide its subsidiaries, COSMOTE (mobile phone) and OTEnet (Internet service provider), with improved access to its customer's homes, small businesses and boats in the lead up to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

"OTE will take SmartWorld into markets we could never enter by ourselves," said SmartWorld's executive chairman, Rob Rohrlach. "We note OTE is also taking an active role in the markets of South East Europe and the Middle East through the acquisition of substantial stakes in foreign telecom companies."

The new company will be supported in part by a Greek management consultancy, Aktion, with international activities in a number of countries including Australia. Aktion will guide and manage Smart Home Hellas as a strategic partner.

In other news, SmartWorld's Ian Middlemas resigned as a director last week to reduce his board commitments.

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