Russian group Rostelecom eying GNC-Alfa acquisition

16 Jan 2012

Russian telecoms group Rostelecom reportedly plans to enter Armenia’s broadband market by purchasing a stake of 75%-minus-one-share in alternative long-distance operator GNC-Alfa, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday. According to the paper, which cited a source close to Rostelecom, the Russians are willing to pay USD22.5 million for the asset. ‘Internet traffic which transits through Iranian networks to Europe is a very promising trend. Part of [this transit channel] will be in Armenia and the purchase of the long-distance operator should strengthen Rostelecom’s position [in the region],’ the source told Kommersant. GNC-Alfa has a toehold in the domestic broadband market, a segment which is expanding rapidly and which is estimated to have been worth USD40 million in 2011. The Rostelecom source would not rule out either, that the Russians might move to acquire Armenia’s largest independent ISP UCOM which, if realised, would give the group a roughly 13% share of Armenia’s retail broadband market.

Armenia, Rostelecom