ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Greece's state telecommunications company signed a $142.5 million contract Thursday to acquire 90 percent of Armenia's debt-burdened system, the company announced.

Under the agreement, originally outlined in December, the state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organization will also assume ArmenTel's $46.7 million debt.

The remaining 10 percent stake will be held by the Armenian government. The Greek company is expected to turn over some of its share to other investors, but the company said it will retain majority control.

It promised to invest about $300 million in the modernization of the Armenian telecommunications system over the next decade. ArmenTel has exclusive rights to provide fixed and mobile telecommunications services in Armenia for at least 15 years.

The acquisition is part of the Greek telecom company's ``strategic focus'' to expand into the Balkans and the Black Sea region, said a company statement.

It has a 20 percent stake in Telekom Serbia, and participation in joint ventures for telecommunications projects in the Ukraine and Georgia.