Russian telecoms company Vimpelcom has announced an agreement with its local partner in Vietnam regarding a financing plan for its joint venture in the country, GTel Mobile. The deal could result in the Russian firm providing investments of up to USD500 million between now and 2013. Vimpelcom said it has completed the first stage of the financing plan by paying USD196 million for newly issued shares and thereby increasing its stake in GTel Mobile from 40% to 49%. All proceeds from this financing will be used for the development of the mobile operator, which provides services under the Beeline brand. Vimpelcom’s local partner in the joint venture, Vietnamese state-owned vehicle GTEL, has retained a 51% interest in GTel Mobile. In connection with this investment, the joint venture parties have also agreed that Vimpelcom will assume operational management of the cellco. Also under the plan, Vimpelcom has agreed to invest a further USD304 million, which would increase its stake in GTel Mobile from 49% to 65%. The additional financing and equity increase are subject to certain performance targets by the operator, as well as further regulatory approvals.
Commenting on the agreement, Alexey Blyumin, general director of GTel Mobile, said: ‘We look forward to re-launching our operations in Vietnam and to strengthening our position in the high-potential South East Asia cluster. We are confident that we will be able to develop our operations in Vietnam in close cooperation with our partner, GTEL, while taking advantage of the scale and scope of the newly enlarged Vimpelcom Group.’