Telenor is refusing to hit the panic button after Altimo sold down its voting rights in VimpelCom by almost 6%, telling Telecoms Europe.net the move has long been anticipated.
Spokesman Dag Melgaard said Telenor remains committed to VimpelCom despite the pending end of its shareholder agreement with Altimo that gave the pair control of the Russian operator. The move will also have no effect on ongoing arbitration over pre-emptive share rights, he said.
“The announcement with Altimo was as expected,” Melgaard said adding that the current shareholder deal will end six months after Altimo completes the sale of 5.995% of its voting rights to Cyprus based Forrielite and the shares are “no longer valid,” under its current agreement.
Altimo predicts it will raise $100 million (€68.1 million) from the sale, which takes its VimpelCom voting rights to less than 25%.
Melgaard said it was too early to say how the change in VimpelCom’s ownership might affect Telenor’s investment in the firm, but noted there would be no changes in the immediate future while the arbitration proceedings are in progress. “We don’t expect any decision until early next year,” he told TE.net referring to the arbitration process.
Telenor launched the arbitration action in January, claiming that VimpelCom’s acquisition of Wind Telecom has reduced the voting rights of all the Russian carrier’s shareholders.