FAS still not ready to withdraw Telenor case

20 Aug 2012

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has said it is not ready to withdraw its case against Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor, regarding its controversial stake increase in Amsterdam-based group Vimpelcom, Bloomberg reports. Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Altimo vehicle, which currently owns a 40.5% stake in Vimpelcom Group, complained to the FAS, after Telenor bought an 11.3% stake in the firm from Egyptian billionaire Naquib Sawiris’s Weather Investments II in February 2012. As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate last week, Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of Russia’s Alfa Group, increased its stake in Vimpelcom to 40.5% via the purchase of 305 million shares from Sawiris. For its part, Telenor indicated that it expected Altimo’s increase in voting rights to bring to an end the dispute. However, FAS spokeswoman Ekaterina Zubova, emailed Bloomberg saying: ‘As for the withdrawal of the claim, we believe it is too early to talk about it’. That said, the FAS admitted to being ‘satisfied’ with the progress of it talks with both parties.