Tue, Sep. 1, 1:36 PM
- Subscribers to Russia's mobile telecoms services rose in Q2, rebounding from a decline in the first quarter.
- Totals came to 242.33M mobile subscriptions, up from 238.35M the quarter before. Market penetration came to 169.6%, up sequentially from 166.8%, as Russia's population is about 146.3M.
- Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -4.3%) led Russian subscriber totals, with 75.39M, up from 74.5M. Megafon (OTC:MFOYY) came in with 71.4M, up from 69.52M; VimpelCom (VIP -3%) logged 57.17M compared to Q1's 55.71M; and Tele2 Russia (OTCPK:TLTZY) with 34.7M subscribers shrank from Q1's 34.9M.
- Breakdown of market share in Russia: MTS, 31%; Megafon, 29%; VimpelCom, 24%; Tele2 Russia, 14%.
- Counting subscribers across multiple countries, VimpelCom (with an additional footprint in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan) passes MTS in overall subscribers, with 109.27M to Mobile TeleSystems' 105.33M and Megafon's 73.85M.
Fri, Aug. 28, 9:43 AM
- Mobile TeleSystems (MBT +0.5%), Russia's biggest mobile operator, says it's partnering with Google to help grow mobile Internet use there.
- The provider will get revenue sharing from Google search ads in return for sharing costs of promotion, an MTS spokesman said.
- The company will feature Google voice search in ads and retail stores, and an app will be pre-installed on the home screens of Google's Android-based phone sold in MTS stores.
Tue, Aug. 18, 11:05 AM
- After declining a bit in early trading, Russian carrier Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) has reclaimed the flat line after Q2 revenues fell short and profit dropped by about 22% Y/Y.
- Higher overall expenses crimped results, in particular a 30% rise in the cost of handsets even as the company slashed its own prices to attract consumers. Adjusted OIBDA fell to RUB 42.7B and OIBDA margin was 41.6%.
- Mobile service revenue in Russia rose 2.8% to RUB 72.7B; data traffic revenue in Russia was up 23.4%, to RUB 18.9B. Handset sales were up 26.7%, to RUB 7.6B.
- The company's guiding to full-year capex of RUB 92B, for planned investments in Ukraine 3G.
- Press Release
Tue, Aug. 18, 8:05 AM
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.
Fri, Jul. 17, 2:13 PM
Thu, Jul. 9, 11:27 AM
- Russian telecom VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is leading the Nasdaq 100 gainers, +5.8% and largely making up heavy losses yesterday.
- While most analysts advocate Hold ratings on the shares, consensus price target of $5.56 implies 14% upside from here.
- The stock had managed to swim against peers in pulling off a Tuesday gain before sinking in the postmarket that day.
- Also rebounding strong today: competitor Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT), up 4.4%.
- Previously: VimpelCom among top postmarket decliners, down 3.7% (Jul. 07 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom Zimbabwe unit cutting employee costs by 25% (Jul. 06 2015)
Tue, Jul. 7, 6:16 PM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is among top postmarket decliners, off 3.7% after hours on a big block that came through in the past hour.
- Shares gained 1.2% in the regular session today, bucking regional industry peers including Mobile TeleSystems (MBT -2.5%) and MiMES Rostelekom (OTCQX:ROSYY -3.5%).
- The Amsterdam-based company noted today that it's joined Nederland ICT, a trade organization for more than 550 info-tech, telecom and Internet companies in the Netherlands. The move should foster better relationships with in-country peers and help develop home-grown talent for the sectors.
- Previously: U.S. piles in to bribery probe of Russian phone firms (Jun. 30 2015)
Tue, Jun. 30, 10:01 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is flat, and Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) up 1.2%, as the two Russian phone companies end up in U.S. crosshairs over a bribery conspiracy investigation.
- The U.S. Justice Dept. is joining an existing list of European countries in looking to seize $300M held by a relative of Uzbekistan's president, Islam Karimov -- the proceeds of what it says were funneled bribes for access to the Uzbek telecom market.
- The U.S. says VimpelCom and MTS used shell companies and phony consulting contracts to route money. VimpelCom said last year that its Dutch headquarters had been raided by prosecutors and that the SEC had sought documents then.
Tue, May 19, 11:35 AM
- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) has slipped 3.6% following an earnings report where profits declined about 14%, to 10.9B rubles, after taking a 3.5B-ruble loss on revaluation of foreign debt (more common among Russian companies this year). The earnings mildly beat expectations.
- Service revenue in Russia grew 3.6% Y/Y to 90.4B rubles, with 70.5B rubles of that in mobile (up 3.9%). Smartphone penetration reached 43.5% among active subs.
- The company said its 2014 results would allow its largest-ever dividend, recommending approval at its June 25 annual meeting of 19.56 rubles/share (40.4B rubles total).
- The company did confirm a full-year target of at least 2% sales growth and an OIBDA margin of at least 40%.
- Press Release
Tue, May 19, 8:12 AM
Mon, Apr. 6, 1:55 PM
- WTI crude oil is up 5.9% to $52.06/barrel. The ruble and Russian markets have followed oil higher - the MICEX index rose 1.1%, and the dollar-based Russian Trading System Cash Index rose 4.2% - and so have U.S.-traded Yandex (YNDX +6.5%), MTS (MBT +3.9%), and VimpelCom (VIP +6.7%).
- Yandex is up 9.5% since Deutsche upgraded last Thursday, arguing a Russian antitrust probe of Google will act as a positive catalyst.
Tue, Mar. 17, 9:00 AM
- The ruble's slide isn't sparing top Russian telecom Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT), as its Q4 profits slid nearly 92% in Q4.
- Group revenues of 107.2B rubles were still up 2.3% and beat an expected 105.8B rubles. Regionally the company saw strength in Russia (revenue up 4.1%) and Turkmenistan but still is experiencing "sustained weakness" in Ukraine amid political unrest.
- MTS also says it's taking a 5.1B ruble loss on a deposit at Ukraine's Delta Bank, which was declared insolvent March 3.
- The company has opened a (non-revolving) line of credit with Sberbank for 50B rubles.
- For 2015, MTS says group revenue may increase more than 2% while OIBDA margin will be greater than 40%. Capex expected will be about 85B rubles.
- Press release
Tue, Mar. 17, 8:17 AM
Tue, Mar. 10, 9:56 AM
- Russian and ruble-affected telecoms are off again as the ruble's down another 1.7% against the dollar today: VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is down 5.8%; Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) down 4%; Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) down 2.1%.
- After hitting a low on Feb. 1, the ruble has regained some ground against the dollar, set back some by the past couple of days.
- A report in Zimbabwe's The Herald paper says that Telecel -- 60% owned by VimpelCom and up for sale -- is worth only $50M rather than the $200M valuation that sale runner Barclays has assigned to it, calling the firm "practically bankrupt."
Wed, Feb. 25, 8:26 AM
- VimpelCom's (NASDAQ:VIP) Q4 revenue came in slightly to the upside of expectations at $4.39B, but the firm was hit by currency headwinds in posting a net loss of $0.53/share and a net loss of $691M for the year.
- EBITDA off $1.6B was about 7% off of expectations and down organically 8%.
- "We expect the operating environment to remain difficult in 2015, however I am confident that we have the right strategy to deliver on our targets," says CEO Jo Lunder.
- Facing the effects on the ruble and Ukraine's hryvnia, the firm will switch to negotiating vendor contracts in dollars.
- For 2015, the company expects service revenue to be anywhere from flat to a low-single-digit organic decline, and EBITDA flat to -1%. EPS is expected to come in at $0.35-$0.40.
- VimpelCom had announced an agreement with MTS (NYSE:MBT) to jointly plan, develop and operate 4G/LTE networks in Russia over the next few years.
- Press release
MBT vs. ETF Alternatives
Mobile Telesystems PJSCprovides telecommunications services including voice and data transmission,internet access, pay TV, various value added services through wireless and fixed lines and sells equipment and accessories.
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