Outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has this week ordered a merger between state-owned telecoms holding company Svyazinvest and national operator Rostelecom within twelve months, reigniting a plan first mooted in 2009. RIA Novosti reports that the order, which was published on a state legal website, also stipulates that the Russian government and the country’s national development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) will maintain a holding of over 50% to maintain control of the new company, which will function under the existing Rostelecom brand name.
The merger of the two firms represents the second phase of the telco’s reorganisation; the first phase, completed in April 2011, saw the national operator stage a so-called ‘mega-regional merger’, which encompassed all seven regional subsidiaries previously controlled by Svyazinvest. Stumbling blocks that have delayed the process in the past are thought to include federal budgetary requirements and complications relating to cross-ownership.
As at 31 December 2011 Svyazinvest held 40.07% of the share capital in Rostelecom, with other key stakes held by the Federal Agency for State Property Management (6.86%), Mobitel (3.44%) and VEB (2.26%).