Russian group Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) today (25 November 2019) announced that it has signed a binding agreement to sell its Ukrainian mobile operating subsidiary, Vodafone Ukraine, to Azerbaijan’s Bakcell for USD734 million in cash. The deal, which received the go-ahead last month from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU), will see MTS’ wholly owned holding company Allegretto (Luxembourg) sell its 100% stake in Dutch-registered Preludium (the sole direct shareholder of Vodafone Ukraine (registered as VF Ukraine) to Bakcell’s subsidiary Telco Solutions & Investments for a cash consideration of USD734 million (including approximately USD84 million earn-out), calculated by reference to a company enterprise value of USD848 million. Completion of the share transfer is expected shortly, according to the release.
Bakcell is part of Azerbaijan-based oil/construction/telecom/tech conglomerate Neqsol, which also owns Azertelecom.
MTS President and CEO Alexey Kornya commented: ‘This deal is in line with our revamped strategy to build innovative digital services on top of a strong telecoms foundation. As our core market, Russia accounts for over 90% of group revenue. Given the small share of our Ukrainian operations in our overall business, we reaffirm our commitment to fulfilling our updated dividend policy and continuing to generate attractive returns for our shareholders.’ MTS’ board has recommended a RUB26.5 billion (USD415 million) special dividend for the first nine months of 2019.