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
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, Feb. 24, 10:50 AM
- Units that are part of Russian mobile firms VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) and Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) have joined Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) in winning 3G licenses in Ukraine.
- The Russian firms protected some market position despite a signal from Ukraine that it would favor non-Russian firms in an effort to break up their dominance. VimpelCom's Kyivstar is the biggest carrier in the country, with 42% share.
- The companies praised the transparency of the auction process.
- In current trading: MBT +3.5%; VIP -1%; TKC -0.4%.
- Previously: Turkcell unit wins 3G spectrum in Ukraine (Feb. 23 2015)
Mon, Feb. 23, 11:09 AM
- Yandex (YNDX -4.6%), Qiwi (QIWI -8.2%), VimpelCom (VIP -5.7%), and MTS (MBT -7.9%) are seeing fresh selling pressure after Moody's joined S&P in downgrading Russia's debt rating to junk, and the U.S. and U.K. raised the prospect of fresh Ukraine-related sanctions.
- Yandex is now down 3% from where it traded before providing better-than-feared Q4 results and Q1 guidance last Wednesday. Qiwi hasn't yet posted its Q4 report.
Tue, Feb. 17, 6:49 PM
- Goldman Sachs upgraded Turkish telecom Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri (NYSE:TKC) to Buy, from its previous rating of Neutral.
- Its move (along with Citi's price target hike) is a rare bit of analyst sunshine after shares faced downgrades the past few months.
- The stock continues to be responsive to ruble moves; today shares were down 1.7% despite Goldman's upgrade, as today the ruble slipped to 63.41/dollar.
- The company cited currency losses from its operations in Ukraine and Belarus in explaining net income that dropped by half.
- Other ruble-related telecoms: (VIP -2.6%), (MBT -2.7%)
Tue, Feb. 17, 10:02 AM
- Talks are gaining steam between Hutchison Whampoa and VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) to merge their Italian wireless operations.
- There's no deal yet but a source says Hutchison's smaller 3 Italia (No. 4 of four competitors) would buy Wind Telecomunicazioni, VimpelCom's unit, in order to challenge market leader Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI).
- Il Giornale says managers for the two firms were meeting in London and a deal could be announced as soon as today.
- VIP currently -6.3%; MBT -3.4%, TKC -1.7% as the ruble sits at 63.14/dollar.
Fri, Feb. 13, 9:15 AM
Thu, Feb. 12, 9:48 AM
- A ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine will go into effect on Feb. 15. Russia's MICEX Index is up 2%, and the ruble has risen moderately against the dollar - the exchange rate is currently 66.2.
- Yandex (YNDX +3.3%), Qiwi (QIWI +5.9%), and MTS (MBT +3.6%) are responding well to the news. The companies also posted big gains last week.
- This morning, Qiwi announced a partnership with Russian carrier MegaFon to offer a co-branded version of Qiwi's digital wallet. A 0.5% cash rebate is provided for payments made using the wallet.
Thu, Feb. 5, 12:14 PM
- Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) is having another volatile day, up 12.3% now after analysts at Macquarie upgrade the stock to Neutral from Underperform.
- The shares also got an upgrade last week from Deutsche Bank, who raise the stock to Buy from Hold and raised price target to $12.70, from $9.00. MBT's currently trading at $9.77.
- MBT -- and Russian peer VimpelCom (VIP +6.9%) -- have been very sensitive to trading of the ruble, which is up slightly today at 66.65/dollar.
Tue, Feb. 3, 3:40 PM
- Another ruble gain, another up day for ruble-related telecoms as VimpelCom (VIP +12.1%), Mobile Telesystems (MBT +11.6%) and MiMES Rostelekom (OTCQX:ROSYY +3.5%) are all up strongly.
- The ruble gained to 65.22/dollar and the telecom firms have been heavily sensitive to the currency, all down more than 44% over the past year.
Mon, Feb. 2, 11:30 AM
- With the ruble gaining a bit of strength against the dollar (trading back around 68.8), telecoms with exposure to the currency are rising again.
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is having a field day, up 11.9%; Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) up 5.2%; MiMES Rostelekom (OTCQX:ROSYY) up a bit at +0.3%; Turkcell (NYSE:TKC) up 1.7%.
- News of VimpelCom wrapping a $2.6B sale of its interest in Djezzy is still making the rounds. The firm was downgraded by Deutsche Bank on Thursday.
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.
Other News & PR