Russian mobile group Vimpelcom has announced a 55% year-on-year increase in its first quarter operating revenues, as its total customer base expanded by four million users in the three months to 31 March. Operating revenues for the period were USD640.6 million, up from USD413.8 million in 1Q2004, whilst net income grew 45% to USD109.7 million. Vimpelcom ended the quarter with 8.12 million subscribers in the Moscow licence area and 21.5 million users outside the capital, up from 7.48 million and 18.25 million at the end of 2004. Vimpelcom’s Kazakhstan mobile business KaR-Tel added 272,000 new users in the quarter, to take its total base to 1.13 million.
Despite the impressive financial performance, Vimpelcom experienced a turbulent start to the year as its two main shareholders – Telenor of Norway and the Alfa Group –waged a bitter battle for control of the company. Most recently the pair clashed over Vimpelcom’s plans to expand its footprint in the Ukraine and both are now seeking to increase their stakes and take full control of the company.