VEON chief warns of total freeze on Russian network development

9 Aug 2022

VEON, owner of Russian mobile and fixed broadband network operator Beeline, may be forced to freeze its network development in the country if sanctions over the war in Ukraine continue to block imports of essential equipment, CEO Kaan Terzioglu said in an interview quoted by Bloomberg, adding: ‘There is no doubt that the deployment will slow down and almost has a risk of coming to a standstill,’ while noting that sanctions affect all Russian market players (including major rivals MTS, MegaFon and Rostelecom/Tele2 Russia).

Terzioglu also mentioned VEON’s strategy on cellular tower ownership, saying: ‘Towers should be in the hands of independent tower companies … We are progressing on monetisation of these tower assets.’ Having sold over 15,000 Russian towers for around USD970 million to Service-Telecom, the company has around 30,000 additional towers available to sell, Terzioglu said.

In other corporate matters, VEON has over USD1.2 billion in bond repayments due February and April 2023, and is planning to use USD682 million from the newly completed sale of Algerian operator Djezzy to cover part of the payments, Chief Financial Officer Serkan Okandan said in the same interview. The rest will be paid using some of the existing USD1.9 billion cash and deposits held via its Amsterdam headquarters and money from dividends paid by its local subsidiaries, he added.

Russia, Beeline (Russia), VEON