Telenor sells stake in Russian regional operator to VimpelCom

Press release
3 minute read
Telenor has sold its 49 per cent share in Russian regional mobile operator, StavTeleSot, to the Telenor Mobiles associated company, VimpelCom for USD 20.9 million. VimpelCom has acquired 90 per cent of StavTeleSot.

The transaction will give Telenor a financial gain of approximately NOK 65 million before tax.

"The sale of our stake in StavTeleSot is in line with Telenor's strategy to take control in selected mobile companies and to dispose of minority stakes in companies where we do not choose to take control," said Telenor Mobile's CEO, Arve Johansen.

StavTeleSot is the leading player in the Stavropol region and the company owns a further 80 per cent of two smaller companies in the neighbouring regions Kabardino-Balkarsky and Karachaevo-Cherkesk. StavTeleSot and its subsidiaries had a customer base of just less than 200,000 subscribers as of December 31, 2002.

VimpelCom, in which Telenor holds a 29 per cent economic stake, had approximately 4.5 million subscribers at the end of November 2002. The VimpelCom Group's portfolio of licenses covers approximately 94 per cent of Russia's population.

"Telenor holds a substantial stake in VimpelCom, and we are particularly pleased to sell our stake in StavTeleSot to VimpelCom as the acquisition of another regional operator will further strengthen VimpelCom's national expansion," Johansen said.

For the quarter ended September 30, 2002, VimpelCom reported net operating revenues of USD 221.1 million, an increase of 93.8 per cent from the USD114.1 million reported for the same period in 2001; EBITDA of USD 102.6 million, an increase of 150.5 per cent from the USD 40.9 million reported for the same period in 2001; and net income of USD 40.5 million, an increase of 191.0 per cent from the USD13.9 million reported for the third quarter of 2001. The Company's EBITDA margin for the third quarter of 2002 was 46.4 per cent.

For further information, please contact:

Dag Vangsnes, Executive Vice President Communications, Telenor Mobile.

Phone: (+47) 917 89 427