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Rostelecom ditches plan to sell Armenian unit

20 Mar 2023

Russian telco Rostelecom has apparently opted against selling its subsidiary in Armenia, Rostelecom Armenia (formerly GNC-ALFA), choosing instead to actively engage in the development of the company. TASS cites Rostelecom’s president Mikhail Oseevsky as saying: ‘There is no issue of selling it anymore, we have decided to develop it actively’.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that on 19 January 2022, the Public Services Development Commission of Armenia (PSRC) approved the planned sale of the Russian group’s Armenian subsidiary to Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) – owned by the Tashir Group of Samvel Karapetyan – and the Russian Arman Hunanyan, via a new joint company registered in Cyprus (Molitro). The estimated value of the deal was reportedly agreed as USD25 million with further funding touted to upgrade and modernise its networks and infrastructure. The prospective new owners also earmarked CAPEX of between AMD1.5 billion and AMD1.8 billion (USD3.1 million and USD3.7 million) over the next five years with a specific aim of developing its presence in the provinces. Previously, in November 2021, Rostelecom revealed via a filing to the PSRC that it was poised to offload its Armenian subsidiary to ENA through offshore holdings company Molitro.

TeleGeography notes that the Tashir Group already has a presence in the Armenian telecoms market, owning a 16% stake in Ucom (partly via Fora-Bank), and it could be this interest that has indirectly played a part in undermining any deal. In November 2021, the then Minister of High-Tech Industry Vahagn Khachaturyan (now the President of Armenia) said that the Armenian government was concerned about a possible merger between Rostelecom Armenia and Ucom. ‘Logically, if this company acquires Rostelecom, it is not excluded that it will merge with Ucom and they will agree on joint actions. We have such fears,’ Vahagn Khachaturyan said at the time.

Armenia, Rostelecom, Rostelecom Armenia, Ucom

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