According to a report by news agency Reuters, the Russian bailiff service which seized Norwegian telco Telenor’s 29.9% stake in Russian mobile operator VimpelCom in March has postponed the sale of the stake for an undefined period. Chief Bailiff Artur Parfyonchikov said that he plans to take more time to study the court documents pertaining to the seizure and subsequent sale of the shares: ‘There are some issues related to the procedure of the transfer and the procedure of the appraisal… You have to understand that it is quite strange in our experience. This will be the first time we hand over this kind of property, in the form of shares, on such a scale.’
In April 2008 Farimex, a minority shareholder in Vimpelcom, initiated a lawsuit against Telenor accusing the company of having caused losses to Vimpelcom shareholders by delaying its entry into Ukraine’s mobile market, and on 20 February 2009 a court in Omsk held Telenor liable for USD1.7 billion, which the Norwegian group refused to pay, leading to the seizure of its stake in Vimpelcom.
The news that the transfer of the stake from the bailiffs to will be delayed gives Telenor a slight hope that its shares could remain unsold until after its appeal against the original court ruling has been heard on 30 September.