Sigma could gain additional 25% of SMARTS

30 Aug 2006

The arguments concerning the ownership of Russian mobile operator SMARTS continue this week, following last week’s court decision to uphold a ruling which will allow the Sigma investment group to increase its stake in the cellco by almost 20%. The latest row centres on a 25% stake held by SMARTS general director and main shareholder Gennady Kiryushin. Citing local newspaper Kommersant, Prime Tass reports that Kiryushin took out a USD58 million loan guaranteed by the 25% interest in SMARTS. Sigma later bought the rights of claim to the loan from the original lender, Vneshtorgbank. Sigma claims the deadline for repayment passed on 7 August and the loan was not redeemed so it is therefore entitled to claim the 25% stake. SMARTS operates GSM networks in 16 regions of Russia.

Russia, SMARTS Group