Russia telecoms round-up: Rostelecom, Vimpelcom & SMARTS

23 Nov 2005

Russia’s former long-distance fixed line monopoly operator Rostelecom has reported a 17% rise in net profit for its fiscal first half of the year. In the six months to the end of September 2005 Rostelecom posted a net profit of RUB2.82 billion (USD98 million) on the back of a 10% increase in revenues, up to RUB19.65 billion; OIBDA rose to RUB7.15 billion from RUB6.54 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, carrier’s carrier Petersburg Transit Telecom has announced that Lucent Technologies has completed the first phase of the construction of its next generation network (NGN). The MPLS-based network supports VPLS services based on carrier Ethernet technology and will be used to deliver advanced voice and data services to enterprise and residential customers in the St Petersburg region.

In other Russian telecoms news, the country’s second largest cellco Vimpelcom has secured a USD250 million syndicated three-year loan for the development of its network and refinancing of existing debts. The lead managers for the loan, which will be provided in two tranches, are Citibank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe.

Vimpelcom’s mobile rival, the SMARTS Group, has had a legal action against a senior member of parliament thrown out of court. SMARTS launched legal action against Sergei Chaplinsky, a deputy in Russia’s State Duma, in July alleging defamation of its business reputation. The suit was prompted by a state inquiry into the company’s activities, led by Chaplinsky, which claimed that SMARTS was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy due to its investment in ‘financial pyramid’ schemes. The Moscow Arbitration Court rejected the claim yesterday.