Alfa retreats in battle for control of Vimpelcom

10 Jun 2005

In a meeting yesterday with minority shareholders in Vimpelcom, Alfa Telecom announced that it did not intend to establish control over Russian cellco Vimpelcom, saying it regarded the company as a portfolio (i.e. indirect) investment. According to reports in Kommersant, the surprise announcement was delivered to more than 40 of Vimpelcom’s important minority shareholders ahead of a planned meeting on 22 June which could decide the fate of the Russian mobile operator. Alfa CEO Aleksey Reznikovich chaired the meeting and called on minority shareholders to ‘support the candidacies of the independent directors nominated by Alfa Telecom for election to Vimpelcom’s board of directors at the shareholders meeting’. In addition, Reznikovich reiterated the desire for the cellco to enter the Ukrainian market and urged shareholders to support the idea. Telenor has reacted cautiously to the development, with Dar Melgaard, the head of its press service, saying ‘We don’t trust the interpretations of Alfa’s actions’.

Russia, Beeline (Russia), Telenor Group, VEON