VimpelCom absorbs WestBalt Telecom; AF Telecom ups MegaFon stake

5 Jan 2015

Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom (Beeline) says it has taken its 62% holding in Kaliningrad-based operator WestBalt Telecom, held via its 100% owned daughter company Balticom Mobile, and transferred it into the parent group – effective 24 December 2014. Joint stock company (JSC) WestBalt Telecom has been active in the Kaliningrad market since 1992 where it provides fixed local calls, internet access, data transmission and related services. In May 2004, Golden Telecom – a fixed line operator in Russia and Ukraine – acquired 100% of Balticom Mobile for USD7 million as part of its regional expansion plan. Vimpelcom moved to buy Golden Telecom in 2008, following which the latter’s name disappeared entirely in 2010.

In a related shareholding development, another of Russia’s so-called ‘Big Three’ mobile operators MegaFon has informed the market that its single largest shareholder, AF Telecom group, controlled by Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, has upped its stake in the company. Under the transaction AF Telecom group company Telecominvest Holdings Limited has transferred more than 312.385 million MegaFon shares to AF Telecom Holding – another AF Telecom subsidiary. Further, Telecominvest Holdings Limited has acquired approximately 1.03 million MegaFon shares on the open market which, when combined with the transfer of shares, increases AF Telecom group’s overall stake in the mobile operator from 53.6518% to 53.8178%.

Russia, Beeline (Russia), MegaFon