Ukrainian conglomerate SCM Group has completed the takeover of Ukrtelecom, the country’s dominant fixed line provider and sole W-CDMA-based 3G mobile operator. SCM announced in a press release on its website that on 4 October it closed the deal with Ukrtelecom’s former owner Epic Group to buy 100% of holding company UA elecominvest Ltd (Cyprus) which owned corporate rights to Epic Services Ukraine, which in turn owned 92.79% of Ukrtelecom. The deal was agreed on 3 June 2013 and obtained antimonopoly approval in mid-September. SCM (System Capital Management) is an industrial and financial group wholly owned by Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, and already owned the country’s second largest fixed line operator Vega plus a minority stake in third-largest cellco Astelit (life:)).
‘SCM has resources and expertise to ensure the necessary development dynamics and investment for growth,’ said Ilya Arkhipov, managing director of SCM Advisors (UK), a subsidiary of SCM Group that advised on the deal. Arkhipov also said that Ukrtelecom would continue to develop broadband access and focus more on customers: ‘The way you treat end customers and the quality of services are very important in telecommunications. We are going to prioritise the interests of our subscribers. The current and future clients will be able to enjoy top quality modern products and services.’ The press release continued: ‘As a new owner of Ukrtelecom, SCM will continue to fulfil all obligations fixed in the privatisation tender conditions and the agreement with the State Property Fund of Ukraine.’ TeleGeography notes that previous owner Epic, having acquired the telco from the state in a USD1.32 billion privatisation deal completed in March 2011, originally committed to a ‘four-to-five-year’ development and restructuring programme. The acquisition price SCM paid Epic has not been published.