Government gives Alfa the green light for Rostelekom bid

17 Nov 2003

The Russian government has done little to allay concern that the country’s rapidly expanding telecoms industry could soon be dominated by a handful of powerful players by giving the green light to financial industrial group Alfa to bid for Rostelekom. Communications Minister Leonid Reiman told reporters at a US-Russian investment symposium that he would have no reservations about Alfa placing a bid for the state-run long-distance telco. Whilst Alfa has yet to comment on whether it will attempt to gain control of Rostelekom it has been widely touted as a potential bidder when the telco begins its privatisation process, expected to begin sometime in early 2004. Alfa already owns a 40% stake in fixed line provider Golden Telecom, 25% in cellco Vimplecom and a contested 25% stake in another mobile operator, MegaFon.