Norway’s Telenor to Sell 33% Stake in Russia’s VimpelCom

According to RCR Wireless News, the Norwegian telecom operator Telenor announced that it will sell its 33% stake to international mobile operator VimpelCom. The European carrier also said that it will explore all options to divest its shares in VimpelCom and that it will now fully focus on creating value in core operations.

“The VimpelCom asset, where Telenor holds a minority position without the possibility to fully control the company, has been challenging. Based on a strategic review by the board and the CEO, and after due considerations, Telenor Group has decided to divest its shares in VimpelCom.”

Chairman Svein Aaser said.

Norway’s Telenor to Sell 33% Stake in Russia’s VimpelCom

Telenor also said that the market value of the VimpelCom shares represents approximately 8% of Telenor’s market capitalization.

The current market value of Telenor’s stake in the Amsterdam-based telco is approximately 20 billion kroner ($2.38 billion), according to RCR Wireless News. Telenor has already invested 15 billion kroner in VimpelCom and received about 20 billion kroner in dividends. Telenor bought about a third of VimpelCom in 1999 to expand beyond the Nordic region.

The Norwegian Telco Said the Market Value of its Stake is $2.38 Billion

Telenor did not set a time frame for the divestment, but said the divestment process could be lengthy.

“We are aware of Telenor’s intention to sell its shares in VimpelCom over the course of time and we welcome their clarification that they do not intend to convert their preferred shares. As VimpelCom moves forward with its recently announced new business strategy, we will work with Telenor to ensure a successful divestiture of their stake.”

VimpelCom said in a separate statement.

VimpelCom had approximately 213 million subscribers by the end of June. The telco is among the world top operators ranking and operates in following countries:

  • Russia
  • Italy
  • Algeria
  • Bangladesh
  • Pakistan
  • Ukraine
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Armenia
  • Georgia
  • Tajikistan
  • Laos
  • Zimbabwe

Telenor has already expanded enough in Asian and eastern European markets to benefit from the surging demand for mobile services. One the other hand, VimpelCom is trying to reverse a sales drop caused by currency fluctuations and slowing economies of Russia and Ukraine.

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