VimpelCom reported a huge net loss for the fourth quarter of 2013 as its revenue was hit by regulatory measures and economic challenges.

The Amsterdam-headquartered group, which has operations in Africa, Russia and Asia, reported Q4 revenue of $5.6 billion, a 7 per cent year-on-year decline.

Its net loss for the period was $2.7 billion, which the company said reflected non-cash impairments. In the same period in 2012, the company reported a $195 million net profit.

For the year as a whole, the operator group saw a 2 per cent fall in revenue to $22.5 billion, and a net loss of $1.4 billion, attributed to non-cash impairments totalling $3 billion, mainly related to operations in Ukraine and Canada.

The company recorded an impairment charge on its assets in Ukraine due to macro-economic developments and weakened operational performance, while it fully impaired its Wind Mobile assets in Canada after deciding not to bid in the country’s recent 700MHz spectrum auction.

VimpelCom said its progress was also hampered by mobile termination rate cuts in Italy, ongoing limitations in Algeria, unstable economic conditions in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and a slowdown in some markets.

The group’s mobile customer base increased by 4 per cent during the fourth quarter, however, to reach 220 million.

VimpelCom CEO Jo Lunder said that the underlying performance in 2013 was “stable,” with a small increase in EBITDA margin “highlighting our continuing focus on cost control and the benefits resulting from procurement savings”.

He also emphasised that the group is continuing to focus on its Value Agenda encompassing “customer experience, cost control and capital efficiency”.

Only the operations in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region — Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — saw revenue growth in Q4, at 3 per cent. The CIS was also the only region to see a revenue increase during 2013 as a whole, at 11 per cent.

Russia, Italy, Africa & Asia and Ukraine all saw a drop, the largest of which was a 9 per cent decline in Ukraine.

The success in the CIS region was partly attributed to the reduction to just two operators in Uzbekistan (following the withdrawal of TeliaSonera).

All of VimpelCom’s markets saw an increase in mobile subscribers during the fourth quarter, with Bangladesh leading the way with 11 per cent year-on-year growth.

During the period, VimpelCom’s Bangladesh unit, banglalink, launched 3G services while its Algerian subsidiary Orascom Telecom Algerie was awarded a 3G licence in the country.

VimpelCom said in January it would not be paying a dividend for 2013 and would reduce payments to shareholders for 2014. The move was aimed at reducing the group’s net debt.