Russian conglomerate Alfa Group has responded to comments made by the head of the country’s competition watchdog, Igor Artemyev, which called for Alfa to delay plans to merge MegaFon and Turkcell, claiming that it is not discussing such a deal at this time. A spokesman for Alfa said: ‘We are not engaged in active discussion on the merger deal…we have not asked for permission from the state, and are not planning to do so.’ Alfa went on to clarify that while it had agreed a deal to merge its holdings in MegaFon and Turkcell with those of Swedish group TeliaSonera, there are no plans to merge the two companies into a single entity. The duo will instead use their unified presence to win control of Turkcell from Turkey’s Cukurova Group. As reported by CommsUpdate on 5 October 2009, Alfa Group and Norwegian Group Telenor had previously agreed to merge Vimpelcom with Ukrainian operator Kyivstar while re-establishing the Russian cellular giant in the Netherlands, hoping to conclude a long-running legal battle. Alfa has applied for regulatory approval for the deal and hopes to conclude the merger in April 2010.