Telenor seeking permission to increase Vimpelcom stake

16 May 2005

Noway’s Telenor has asked Russia’s anti-monopoly agency for permission to raise its stake in cellco Vimpelcom from 26.6% to 45%. Telenor has stressed that whilst it has no immediate plans for a share purchase, it is considering upping its holding amid concerns about the business plan of fellow shareholder the Alfa Group. A 45% share would not be enough to give Telenor outright control of Vimpelcom, but would give it a valuable extra seat on the cellco’s board. Telenor and Alfa currently have three seats each on the nine member board, but both are keen to increase their hold on the company. Most recently the pair clashed over Vimpelcom’s plans to expand its footprint in the Ukraine. If Telenor receives approval it will have a year to buy up the necessary shares.

Russia, Beeline (Russia), Telenor Group, VEON