Russia files against Telenor stake increase in VimpelCom - Mobile World Live

Russia files against Telenor stake increase in VimpelCom

19 APR 2012

Russian anti-trust regulators have filed a claim against Telenor’s recent increase in its shareholding in VimpelCom, claiming the transaction violates Russian investment law.

Telenor has learned that the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation (FAS) filed a claim in the Moscow Arbitrazh Court, the principal commercial court in Moscow, against both Telenor and Weather Investments (the firm in which it acquired the shares from), though Telenor has not yet been formally notified of the claim by the FAS or the court.

The FAS is calling for the transaction to be terminated and for the various VimpelCom shareholders to form an agreement “with substantially the same terms” as it had previously.

In February, Telenor bought US$374.4 million worth of VimpelCom shares from Weather, increasing its voting share in VimpelCom to 36.36 percent from 25 percent.

The deal effectively re-established Telenor’s former stake level in VimpelCom, which had been diluted following VimpelCom’s merger with Weather Investment’s Wind Telecom (and opposed by Telenor ). The deal also drew a line under the Norwegian firm’s dispute with co-shareholder, Altimo.

"We believe we have fully complied with the Strategic Investment Law as it has been interpreted and applied to date," said Telenor spokesman Dag Melgaard. 

“There has not been any change of control in VimpelCom, nor is there any agreement between Telenor and Weather Investments concerning control of VimpelCom,” he added. “We are open to a dialogue with the FAS, but we will defend Telenor's position using all available remedies under applicable law and treaties."