Billionaire Kerimov linked with 28.2% NTC stake

17 Feb 2012

According to Reuters, citing an unconfirmed story by RBC Daily, Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov – who currently holds a minority shareholding in national fixed line giant Rostelecom – is in talks to buy a 28.2% stake in National Telecommunications (NTC), a cableco that has been majority-owned by Rostelecom since February 2011.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February last year the state-owned telco obtained 21.8% of NTC itself (by purchasing the stakes belonging to Surgutneftgas (10%), Raybrook (10%) and 1.8% of National Media Group’s (NMG) shareholding), whilst two of Rostelecom’s sister companies Uralsvyazinform and North-West Telecom (NWT) – which were subsequently merged with Rostelecom itself as part of its mega-regional merger – each purchased a 25% stake from main shareholder NMG.

However, in May 2011 financial organisations Gazprombank, VTB Capital and Sberbank Capital rejected Rostelecom’s mandatory buyout offer for their respective minority stakes, citing a prohibitively low valuation. It is unclear how much Kerimov – who diluted his own shareholding in Rostelecom to around 2% last month – has offered for the remaining shares.

Russia, National Telecommunications (NTC), Rostelecom