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VimpelCom (VIP)

  • Fri, Nov. 27, 11:45 AM
    • VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is down 1.9% with firms coming in for price target cuts on the Russia-focused telecom.
    • Barclays has reduced its price target to $4.82; ADRs closed yesterday at $3.60 and are trading at $3.53 today. Meanwhile, HSBC lowered its price target to $6.40.
    • HSBC has a Buy rating on the stock, while Barclays holds an Equal Weight rating.
    • The company also announced it's combining its Pakistan mobile business, Mobilink, with Global Telecom Holding's Warid Telecom in a large consolidation. Mobilink will first acquire 100% of Warid's shares in consideration for Dhabi Group shareholders acquiring about 15% of Mobilink, before the two companies are fully merged.
    • The combination will serve more than 45M customers and the two companies logged combined revenue of $1.4B over the past 12 months. VimpelCom and Global Telecom expect synergies of $500M in the tie-up.
    | Fri, Nov. 27, 11:45 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Nov. 25, 6:55 PM
    • While VimpelCom (VIP +6.8%) got a boost today on news that it may be close to settling with the U.S. in an Uzbekistan corruption probe, TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +2.2%) may be facing a bigger headache as the U.S. looks to extend the probe into other markets, according to Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.
    • Danske Bank analysts think the company could now be facing compensation claims of 15B kronor ($1.72B), triple what they had expected before.
    • The probe is reportedly widening to TeliaSonera's activities in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and even Nepal.
    • Other companies besides VimpelCom and TeliaSonera -- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) and Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY) -- are linked to dealings with Takilant, the company tied to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov.
    | Wed, Nov. 25, 6:55 PM | Comment!
  • Wed, Nov. 25, 6:32 PM
    • VimpelCom (VIP +6.8%) is looking at stable debt even with ongoing dollar risks, Fitch says, giving the Russia-focused telecom a BB+ Issuer Default Rating with stable outlook.
    • While VimpelCom's debt is moderate and declining, 71% is in U.S. currency, which may increase costs for Amsterdam-based VimpelCom as the U.S. raises rates.
    • VimpelCom's interests in Italy's Wind are "highly leveraged but ring-fenced," the firm says.
    • Fitch expects VimpelCom to stay a strong mobile player in Russia despite competition from Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT), Millicom (OTCPK:MIICF) and Megafon (OTC:MFOYY): "Although its market share has been on a steady decline over the three years to 2014, a catch-up in capex should allow it to compete on a more level playing field with its larger peers."
    • Shares finished strong today after a report the company may be near a settlement with U.S. authorities related to an Uzbekistan corruption probe.
    • Previously: VimpelCom up 2.4% on report it's near $775M U.S. settlement (Nov. 25 2015)
    | Wed, Nov. 25, 6:32 PM | Comment!
  • Wed, Nov. 25, 9:28 AM
    | Wed, Nov. 25, 9:28 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Nov. 18, 10:09 AM
    • Russia-focused telecom VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is up 4% in early going after announcing it's selling out of its interests in Zimbabwe.
    • The firm owns a stake in Telecel International -- which owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe -- through its subsidiary operation Global Telecom Holding. That unit has entered a deal with ZARNet to transfer its interest in Telecel International for $40M.
    • ZARNet, wholly owned by Zimbabwe's government, will take over the Telecel stake after customary closing.
    • Previously: VimpelCom -7.3% as one-time items drive billion-dollar loss (Nov. 06 2015)
    | Wed, Nov. 18, 10:09 AM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Nov. 11, 1:56 PM
    | Wed, Nov. 11, 1:56 PM | Comment!
  • Mon, Nov. 9, 3:43 PM
    | Mon, Nov. 9, 3:43 PM | Comment!
  • Fri, Nov. 6, 10:18 AM
    • VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is off 7.3% after a $900M provision for multiple regulatory investigations pushed it to a billion-dollar loss for the third quarter.
    • The company noted exceptional items of $1.196B total, including that provision. Excluding that, it said, underlying profit came to $191M.
    • VimpelCom said it would set aside the funds as U.S. and Dutch authorities examined the company's business dealings in Uzbekistan as part of a corruption probe.
    • Revenue fell 31% to $2.44B though it said organic growth -- excluding foreign exchange, disposals, mergers, acquisitions -- was up 2% Y/Y. It's reclassified its Italy business as asset held for sale pending the merger of its Wind Telecomunicazioni with Three Italia.
    • It reaffirmed key targets for 2015 (including service revenue flat to low-single-digit organic decline, and underlying EBITDA margin flat to -1 percentage point organically)
    • Press release
    • Previously: Former VimpelCom CEO Lunder in custody amid Uzbek corruption probe (Nov. 05 2015)
    • Previously: U.S. telecom probe seeking to seize $1B in European assets (Aug. 13 2015)
    | Fri, Nov. 6, 10:18 AM | Comment!
  • Thu, Nov. 5, 12:08 PM
    • Jo Lunder, the ex-CEO of VimpelCom (VIP +4.7%), is being held by Norwegian police in connection with the corruption probe into the company's dealings in Uzbekistan.
    • U.S. and Dutch authorities started an investigation into companies that were suspected of steering business to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the country's president, in return for rights to wireless airwaves. Norwegian authorities say they are assisting the Dutch investigation.
    • Lunder, currently CEO of the Fredriksen Group, hasn't been charged but is held "on suspicion of gross corruption."
    • The case has brought turmoil to Norway's state-owned Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +0.7%), which has hired a law firm to investigate its ties to the case. Telenor owns a third of VimpelCom, and its chairman was forced out over the issue.
    • VimpelCom has said it would make a $900M provision in its Q3 statements tied to the probes.
    | Thu, Nov. 5, 12:08 PM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Nov. 3, 10:09 AM
    | Tue, Nov. 3, 10:09 AM | Comment!
  • Mon, Nov. 2, 2:15 PM
    • Following the ouster of its chairman, Norway's Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +0.5%) says it's hired a law firm for an independent investigation of its dealings with VimpelCom's (VIP -2.8%) entry to the Uzbekistan market.
    • Telenor owns a third of VimpelCom, the Amsterdam-based telecom with service focused on the Russian market. VimpelCom's under investigation in the Netherlands and the U.S. over possible improper payments related to spectrum acquisition in the Uzbek market.
    • Telenor had said last month it planned to divest its VimpelCom stake, after a review by new CEO Sigve Brekke, who took over in August. The fallout from the affair led Norway's Industry Minister to lose confidence in Chairman Svein Aaser, who resigned Friday.
    | Mon, Nov. 2, 2:15 PM | Comment!
  • Thu, Oct. 22, 3:16 PM
    • VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) has moved up sharply during the past hour to its intraday peak, up 7.3% in a rebound after overnight reports that it's hired UBS, Merrill Lynch and TAP Advisors to help it explore strategic options including a $5B sale of a cell tower portfolio.
    • The company is shopping about 50,000 towers in Russia and former Soviet republics, Bloomberg reported.
    • VimpelCom could create a holding company with a partner instead, sources said. Its Wind unit in Italy agreed to sell a stake in its towers to Abertis for $784M.
    • The company is pursuing cost reduction as it looks to boost cash flow, and a global trend of towers divestment could help there. “We continue to monitor trends in the global telecoms market and looking at effective business models for tower infrastructure, which help reduce costs and construction time, aid geographical expansion and increase quality for consumers at an attractive price,” the company says.
    | Thu, Oct. 22, 3:16 PM | Comment!
  • Wed, Oct. 14, 10:39 AM
    • Moody's is raising its outlook for Europe's telecoms to stable as it predicts a return to revenue growth overall, amid growing consumer demand and spending capacity, and price increases.
    • The firm expects revenues overall to grow by 1-2% over the next 12-18 months.
    • "Increasing demand for broadband, improved consumer spending capacity and a change in focus from price competition to service quality leading to price increases will underpin European telecommunications service providers' return to revenue growth in 2016," says Moody's analyst Carlos Winzer.
    • He pointed to Telefonica (TEF -1.6%), whose ARPU was up sequentially to €71.80/month from €68.80/month and who's rolling out premium packages at premium prices. Moody's expects positive ARPU for Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) amid similar premium pricing.
    • Despite a stable outlook on the Africa, Middle East and Turkish markets, slowing GDP in some countries (including Nigeria and those on the Arabian peninsula) could press revenue growth.
    • The outlook on Russia's big three, however -- Mobile TeleSystems (MBT +2.1%), MegaFon (OTC:MFOYY) and VimpelCom (VIP +0.8%) -- stays negative amid the Russian economic crisis.
    | Wed, Oct. 14, 10:39 AM | 2 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 5, 10:26 AM
    • In a strategic shift, Norway's Telenor (OTCPK:TELNY +2.5%) is divesting its "challenging" multibillion-dollar stake in Russia telecom provider VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP)
    • VimpelCom ADRs were up 2.7% in the early going in U.S. trading.
    • Telenor has a 33% stake in VimpelCom that is worth more than $2.4B. “The VimpelCom asset, where Telenor holds a minority position without the possibility to fully control the company, has been challenging,“ says its chairman, Svein Aaser.
    • The probes in the U.S. and the Netherlands into possible bribery at VimpelCom have raised controversy in Norway over Telenor's holding.
    • The sale could take some time, and Telenor says it's expecting a related noncash impairment of 7.5B Norwegian krone (about $900M) against Q3 earnings.
    • Previously: U.S. telecom probe seeking to seize $1B in European assets (Aug. 13 2015)
    | Mon, Oct. 5, 10:26 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Sep. 23, 5:04 PM
    • Russia is set to auction 1800-MHz wireless airwaves next week, and has processed applications for the country's four main mobile operators to participate.
    • Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -2.1%), VimpelCom (VIP -1.5%), Megafon (OTC:MFOYY) and Tele2 (OTCPK:TLTZY) are certified to take part in the electronic auction. Russia is selling spectrum in nine regions.
    • While the band was previously set aside for voice communication, there are no restrictions on usage of airwaves won in the auction, and the country's Roscomnadzor regulator expects winners will put LTE to work in the band.
    | Wed, Sep. 23, 5:04 PM | Comment!
  • Thu, Aug. 13, 6:28 PM
    • U.S. prosecutors are pursuing the seizure of $1B in assets tied to a criminal corruption probe of Uzbekistan, to which they've linked foreign telecoms VimpelCom (VIP -1.9%), Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -2.5%) and TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.4%).
    • Authorities think the firms (based in the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden respectively) sent hundreds of millions of dollars to business controlled by Gulnara Karimova, daughter to Uzbek President Islam Karimov, to secure wireless spectrum there.
    • The U.S. is asking European banks to assist in grabbing the funds, part of a recently more aggressive push against foreign corruption by the U.S. -- which has jurisdiction with regard to VimpelCom and MTS since they trade on U.S. exchanges.
    • TeliaSonera delisted about 10 years ago, but could be involved if its deals used the U.S. financial system. Its CEO Lars Nyberg resigned in 2013 amid criticism of the company's Uzbekistan investment.
    • Earlier this year in the same probe, the U.S. pursued seizing some $300M in accounts in Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Authorities think Gulnara Karimova is the beneficial owner of the $1B they're seeking.
    | Thu, Aug. 13, 6:28 PM | 4 Comments
Company Description
VimpelCom Ltd provides voice, data and other telecommunication services through an array of wireless, fixed and broadband internet services, as well as selling equipment and accessories.
Sector: Technology
Country: Russia