Fri, May 15, 2:52 PM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is among the highest-gaining telecoms of the day, up 5.1%, after a couple of analysts raised price targets following news of progress on VIP's (slow) Italy merger talks.
- RBC Capital raised its price target on shares to $6.50, and maintains a rating of Outperform.
- Meanwhile, Renaissance Capital today raised the price target to $5.10 (from $4.40) while downgrading the stock to Sell.
- For well over a year, VimpelCom has been talking with Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY) about merging its Wind Telecomunicazioni with Hutchison's Three Italia (Nos. 3 and 4 in the Italy market) to take on market leader Telecom Italia. On Wednesday, discussions centered on an even split in the merger.
- Shares are trading currently at $6.35.
Wed, May 13, 11:36 AM
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is up 7% now following news of progress on its Italy-unit merger and earnings that grew despite revenues that slipped 30%, pummeled by currency exchange.
- EBITDA was down 30% Y/Y as well (to $1.396B, vs. expected $1.43B), but on an organic basis, revenues were down 2% and EBITDA down 6%, in line with management's expectations. EBITDA margin fell to 39.7% from a year-ago 41.6%.
- Organic revenues were flat or down in the company's biggest geographies: Russia, $1.04B (flat on organic basis); Italy, $1.11B (down 5%); Algeria, $320M (down 11%).
- Mobile customers increased 2% to 218M. Customer base in Algeria gained 6% to 18.7M and Bangladesh 8% to 31.8M. Italy customers slipped 3% to 21.4M, while Russia gained 1% to 55.7M.
- The company stuck to current guidance for 2015: organic service revenue flat to a single-digit decline, EPS of $0.35-$0.40 (vs. consensus $0.40) and net debt/EBITDA of about 3.2x (1.7x, excluding Italy unit). It plans to update shareholders on strategy in August.
- Press Release
- Previously: VimpelCom, Hutchison Italy merger talk focuses on even split (May. 13 2015)
Wed, May 13, 9:11 AM
- VimpelCom's (NASDAQ:VIP) talks with Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY) about merging their Italian wireless units are centering on an equal split, says VimpelCom CEO Jean-Yves Charlier.
- A merger's been under discussion for some time, though recent speculation over wrapping a deal in the next three months has centered on the exact split of ownership as a top hurdle, along with net debt at VimpelCom's Wind Telecomunicazioni operator.
- "We are in discussions with Hutchison regarding a possible equal joint venture between Three Italia SpA and VimpelCom's subsidiary Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA," Charlier said in a statement.
- In premarket action, VIP ADRs are up 3.1%.
- Previously: VimpelCom reports Q1 results (May. 13 2015)
- Previously: Bloomberg: VimpelCom, Hutchison agree on Italy merger management (May. 12 2015)
Wed, May 13, 2:19 AM
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."
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