VimpelCom mulling emerging markets sell-off - Mobile World Live

VimpelCom mulling emerging markets sell-off

29 OCT 2012

The Financial Times (FT) reports that VimpelCom is considering the sale of some of its units in Africa and Asia, as part of a strategy to focus on more mature markets.

Among the units likely to be on the blocks are its operations in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Cambodia, Laos and Zimbabwe – although the last of these depends on resolving ongoing ownership and licensing issues.

Citing “people with knowledge of the strategy”, the FT said that VimpelCom is seeking to create a “more unified ‘story’ around the telecoms group”, which had otherwise been seen as “more of a collection of disparate telecoms assets than a cohesive operator with resulting synergies”.

It was suggested that the African assets could be sold for “more than US$60 million”, with interest coming from groups looking to buy a first foothold in the region.

Contrastingly, the Asian operations have drawn interest from already active companies, which are looking to consolidate their positions.

Earlier this year, VimpelCom sold its 49 percent stake in Vietnamese operator GTEL Mobile to its local partner for US$45 million.

For its most recently reported quarter (Q2 2012), VimpelCom said that EBITDA in its Sub Saharan Africa unit (Burundi, CAR and Zimbabwe) had increased by 411 percent to US$9.3 million, on operating revenue which was down 4 percent to US$22.9 million.

For South East Asia (Cambodia and Laos), it saw an EBITDA loss of US$3 million, reduced from a US$37 million loss in  the prior year, on operating revenue which fell 26 percent to US$13.1 million.

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