Tue, May 12, 10:01 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) ADRs are up 3.6% in early action on Bloomberg's report that VimpelCom and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY -0.7%) have come to agreement on senior management in the merger of their Italian mobile businesses, and that Maximo Ibarra (CEO of VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni) has backing to lead the combination.
- Meanwhile, Vincenzo Novari (leader of Hutchison's Three Italia unit) would take a board seat and would supervise Italian businesses for Hutchison Chairman Li Ka-shing, a source tells Bloomberg.
- Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) ADRs are up 4.2% following a similar move up at Borsa Italiana. Completion of the long-coming merger would mean a late-coming consolidation of the Italian market from four wireless networks to three.
- The combo would create Italy's biggest carrier in customer terms, with 30M customers.
Tue, May 12, 9:16 AM
Fri, Apr. 24, 3:50 PM
- Moody's confirms its ratings on VimpelCom (VIP -3%) at Ba3 on the expectation that the telecom's financial metrics will be recovering in 2016.
- The ratings agency notes that risks from the company's leverage (via VimpelCom Holdings) raising above a key threshold will be limited.
- "Despite challenges, we expect VimpelCom to remain the third largest mobile operator in Russia in terms of subscriber numbers," says Moody's Artem Frolov.
- The agency expects only a low single-digit percent decline in ruble revenues and earnings, for economic reaosns, and that VimpelCom has a solid cash balance, particularly after drawing $3.8B for the sale of its stake in Algeria's Djezzy.
- Previously: VimpelCom completes sale of Algerian stake for $2.6B (Jan. 30 2015)
Tue, Apr. 14, 2:16 PM
- VimpelCom (VIP +2.1%) unit Telecel Zimbabwe has responded to regulators after being threatened with shutdown over license fees and compliance with black empowerment law.
- "We’ve been engaging quite closely" with Telecel, says Baxton Sirewu, acting director of Zimbabwe's regulator.
- The company has more than 2M customers and has brought in execs from other countries after being threatened with closure.
Thu, Apr. 9, 10:00 PM
- In a new report on fiber, DSL and cable broadband subscribers, Infonetics Research projects that consumers are driving global fixed broadband adoption toward a 5% compound annual growth rate through 2019, from a current base of 733M (up 8% last year).
- Global growth will lead the way, the firm says, especially in China (Asia Pacific has 50% of the world's fixed broadband subscribers, and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) is the worldwide share leader) -- as well as Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Arrgentina, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Other insights: DSL's still the biggest technology, but growth is coming via fiber-to-the-home and DOCSIS 3.0 cable; and FTTH subscribers grew 22% last year to cross the 100M-subscriber line.
- U.S.-traded players in the firm's report: T, BT, CHA, CHU, CHT, CMCSA, OTCQX:DTEGY, OTCPK:KDDIY, KT, NTT, ORAN, OTCQX:ROSYY, TI, TEF, OTCPK:TELNY, OTCPK:TLSNY, OTC:TMXLF, OTCPK:TLSYY, TWC, OTC:TRKNY, VZ, VIP, VOD
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.
Mon, Apr. 6, 5:15 AM
- Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and his partners are creating a $16B fund to invest in tech and telecom companies in the U.S. and Europe. LetterOne Technology plans to buy struggling telecom companies that require fresh capital, or technology companies that make apps or streaming services that could be used by its global mobile operations.
- The fund will also act as a holding company for the group's 48% stake in VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) and 13% stake in Turkcell (NYSE:TKC).
Fri, Mar. 27, 11:41 AM
- Wind Telecomunicazioni, the Italian unit of VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP), has closed on selling 90% of its towers business to Spanish firm Abertis (OTCPK:ABRTY), for €693M (about $753M).
- Abertis will name its terrestrial telecoms unit Cellnex Telecom, which will officially exist April 1 with more than 15,000 towers, including the 7,377 towers it's attaining via a 90% stake in Wind's Galata Co.
- The Wind tower business will generate about €200M in revenues in its first year, Cellnex says.
- Wind will provide services on the sites for 15 years, with an option for another 15-year extension.
- Previously: VimpelCom unit sells most of towers business to Abertis (Mar. 02 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom may draw $1B from impending sale of Italy towers (Feb. 27 2015)
Fri, Mar. 13, 5:29 PM
- Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) been doing its level best to consolidate European telecoms -- by itself if need be -- but very lengthy talks over acquiring VimpelCom's (NASDAQ:VIP) Italian unit Wind Telecomunicazioni are key to cementing its foothold in the continent.
- Hutchison's 3 Italia is the smallest player of Italy's four, with Wind being the third-largest. If the two (finally) merge, they'd have about a third of the market, roughly equal to that of leader Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD).
- Hong Kong-based Hutchison is pushing a $15B takeover of British firm O2 from Telefonica, and has already acquired Orange Austria and O2 Ireland.
- Talks between Hutchison and Wind have been going on for over a year, but in the meantime, Wind's lost customers and gained debt (its net debt is now nearly 5x 2014 EBITDA).
- Previously: FT: VimpelCom, Hutchison again close to closure on Italy merger (Mar. 10 2015)
- Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison reportedly closer to merging Italy operations (Feb. 17 2015)
Fri, Mar. 13, 8:20 AM
- Jo Lunder has resigned his position as VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) CEO as of April 13, and the board has tapped Jean-Yves Charlier to replace him.
- Charlier was most recently CEO of No. 2 French telecom SFR, leaving that role after it merged with Altice's Numericable business.
- Lunder is leaving "to take up other opportunities"; Chairman Alexey Reznikovich thanked him for "many years of service with VimpelCom, during which he has overseen a period of rapid growth and expansion."
Tue, Mar. 10, 9:10 PM
- It's a headline you've heard a few times before, but VimpelCom (VIP +1.7%) and Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY -1.2%) are in the advanced stages of merging their Italian units, the Financial Times reports.
- For more than a year, the two firms have been discussing how to merge VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni and Hutchison's Three Italia, the third- and fourth-largest of four competitors in Italy. But a breakthrough may mean Hutchison might get a 51% share of the combination and finally bring it to closure.
- Sound familiar? In a four-competitor market, the smallest two have launched a damaging price war that's pressured everyone in the market. If the two merge, they'd have about a third of the space, roughly equal to that of Telecom Italia (TI -3.4%) and of Vodafone (VOD -1.7%).
- Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison reportedly closer to merging Italy operations (Feb. 17 2015)
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."
Mon, Mar. 2, 10:53 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) will repurchase up to $2.1B in eurobonds from the open market.
- In its earnings report last week, the Russian telecom provider reported gross debt of $26.4B, and a gross debt / LTM EBITDA ratio of 3.3.
- The company has about $6.6B in cash.
- Shares have recovered some from the open, down 0.9%.
- Earlier: VimpelCom unit sells most of towers business to Abertis (Mar. 02 2015)
Mon, Mar. 2, 8:27 AM
- As expected, VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) unit Wind Telecomunicazioni reached a deal to sell 90% of its Galata towers business to Spain's Abertis (OTCPK:ABRTY), for €693M in cash (about $778M).
- The transaction is expected to close in Q1.
- Wind will enter into a 15-year deal to provide services on the sites and eventual sites build by Galata hosting its equipment.
- Premarket, VIP -1.5%.
Fri, Feb. 27, 7:31 PM
- Wind Telecomunicazioni -- the Italian unit of Russian telecom VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) -- may be selling its wireless towers to Spain's Abertis Infraestructuras (OTCPK:ABRTY) as soon as the coming week.
- The companies are talking about 6,000 towers that Wind values at as much as €700M ($786M), though other observers peg the value even higher, at €800M ($914M).
- An additional 1,700 towers under discussion could easily boost the deal to that latter figure or even to €900M ($1B).
- Abertis -- chiefly in toll-road management -- is reportedly considering transferring the towers into a unit to be listed on the Madrid exchange, in order to get more cash to shareholders.
- The Spanish firm is winning the deal over competition from American Tower (NYSE:AMT), Mediaset's (OTCPK:MDIUY) EI Towers and a coalition of investment fund F2i SGR and Providence Equity Partners.
- Shares of VimpelCom closed the day up 4.8%; they tracked lower in after-hours trading, -1.5%.
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
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