Russia’s Supreme Arbitration Court has ruled in favour of Vimpelcom in one of the lawsuits filed by its shareholder Telenor East Invest, upholding the validity of a September 2005 shareholder vote which approved the Russian cellco’s acquisition of Ukrainian Radio Systems (URS, now rebranded BeeLine). The ruling is final and may not be appealed. Vimpelcom has now conclusively won two of the three lawsuits brought by the Norwegian-owned plaintiff in connection with its purchase of the Ukrainian mobile operator. The remaining lawsuit brought by Telenor to declare invalid and unwind the URS transaction was won by Vimpelcom in the lower court but has been appealed by Telenor. The appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeals on 25 June 2007. Vimpelcom’s largest shareholders are Russia’s Alfa Group (35.8%) and Telenor (26.6%).
Vimpelcom also announced this week that the BeeLine network has been expanded to cover 549 cities and 8,000 rural localities following expansion to 42 further cities in April-May 2007.