Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has reacted to a report that Azerbaijan’s Bakcell was seeking approval from the Ukrainian antimonopoly authorities to buy the group’s Vodafone Ukraine subsidiary. Quoted by Reuters, an MTS spokesperson said in reference to the potential sale of its Ukrainian unit: ‘MTS is considering various possibilities for the development of its international business. However, there are no concrete agreements now.’ Earlier, Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine representative Maria Protsishen told Interfax that Bakcell had submitted an ‘application for concentration’ of VF Ukraine (trading as Vodafone Ukraine) to the competition authority, adding that ‘the date of consideration of the Bakcell application will be known after the head of the Committee determines the authorised person for this application.’ MTS pointed out that submitting documents to the authority was a necessary technical formality that did not indicate a deal.
Also this week, MTS has scrapped a proposal to delist its shares from the New York stock exchange, the Prime news agency reported, quoting a statement to the press from Vladimir Yevtushenkov, leading shareholder in MTS’ parent group Sistema. Some members of the US Congress have previously raised the question of whether to include Yevtushenkov, Sistema and MTS in the US-Russia economic sanctions list, but no developments followed. In February this year MTS indicated it was assessing ‘whether listing in the US is responsive to the interests of shareholders’ and in the summer rumours emerged that it might delist its American Depository Receipts in favour of a listing in a different country such as the UK.