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Russia watchdog says government backs its Telenor claim

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05/02/2012 | 06:56pm CEST

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's competition watchdog said on Wednesday its bid to overturn Telenor's (>> Telenor) recent increase of its stake in mobile operator Vimpelcom (>> VimpelCom Ltd (ADR)) was supported by the government's powerful commission on foreign investment.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's competition watchdog said on Wednesday its bid to overturn Telenor's (>> Telenor) recent increase of its stake in mobile operator Vimpelcom (>> VimpelCom Ltd (ADR)) was supported by the government's powerful commission on foreign investment.

Telenor boosted its voting stake in Vimpelcom in mid-February in a surprise deal with Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris's company Weather, which saw the Norwegian group taking back partial control of Vimpelcom from Russia's Altimo.

However, Russia's Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) filed a claim in a Moscow arbitration court last month, alleging the deal between Telenor and Weather violated the Russian Strategic Investment Law.

"Today we were talking about our actions in respect of the purchase by Norway's Telenor of (a stake in) Vimpelcom," the head of FAS, Igor Artemyev, told reporters after a meeting of the foreign investment commission which he attended.

"It (Telenor's stake purchase) was done without permission of the foreign investment commission. Today we have got full support of our actions, in particular (our) appeal to court."

The Government Commission on Monitoring Foreign Investment, chaired by Russian Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin, has sweeping authority over foreign investment in Russian companies.

The Moscow arbitration court issued an injunction order late last month prohibiting Telenor from voting with its shares in Vimpelcom to change the composition of its board and exercising its option to buy more shares.

It also scheduled the first hearing on the merits of FAS's claim for October 17.

Telenor's shares closed down 0.8 percent. At 1640 GMT, Vimpelcom's New-York listed stock was down 1.7 percent.

(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Mark Potter)

Stocks treated in this article : Telenor, VimpelCom Ltd (ADR)
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
TELENOR -1.34% 169.65 Delayed Quote.-2.25%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 9 603 M
EBIT 2018 1 515 M
Net income 2018 333 M
Debt 2018 8 349 M
Yield 2018 12,7%
P/E ratio 2018 11,02
P/E ratio 2019 6,11
EV / Sales 2018 1,32x
EV / Sales 2019 1,24x
Capitalization 4 308 M
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 14
Average target price 4,20 $
Spread / Average Target 70%
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Ursula M. Burns Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Kjell Morten Johnsen Chief Operating Officer
Trond Ødegård Westlie Group Chief Financial Officer
Yogesh Sanjeev Malik Group Chief Technology Officer
Mikhail Maratovich Fridman Member-Supervisory Board
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