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VimpelCom (VIP)

  • 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 | 3 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 6, 9:47 AM
    • VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is up 3.8% after the company finally came to agreement to merge its Italy unit, Wind Telecomunicazioni, with Hutchison's (OTCPK:HUWHY) Three Italia, in a €21.8B deal (about $24B), creating a telecom carrier that would surpass Telecom Italia (TI -1.9%) as Italy's leader in total customers, with more than 31M.
    • The talks -- in progress for well over a year -- result in a 50/50 venture where Wind's CEO Maximo Ibarra will keep his role while Three's COO Dina Ravera will oversee integration. Each firm will nominate three board members to a six-member board.
    • The deal values Wind at €13.9B and Three at €7.9B. An IPO for the JV was reported to be considered earlier, though VimpelCom CEO Jean-Yves Charlier says they haven't discussed one.
    • The transaction requires antitrust approval from Europe, but Italy is late to the consolidation game, as countries like Germany, Ireland and Austria had previously gone from four carriers to three.
    • The companies say the deal will deliver cost savings of more than €5B, mainly from combining the mobile networks.
    • VimpelCom also posted Q2 results where its Q2 revenues narrowly beat expectations despite a 26% drop.
    | Thu, Aug. 6, 9:47 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Jul. 29, 5:44 PM
    | Wed, Jul. 29, 5:44 PM | Comment!
  • 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)
    | Thu, Jul. 9, 11:27 AM | 2 Comments
  • 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, Jul. 7, 6:16 PM | Comment!
  • Tue, Jul. 7, 5:36 PM
    | Tue, Jul. 7, 5:36 PM | 19 Comments
  • Mon, Jul. 6, 12:17 PM
    • VimpelCom's (VIP -3.9%) Zimbabwean division is imposing pay cuts and work limitations in order to slash employee costs by 25%.
    • Telecel Zimbabwe, the country's No. 2 provider, is giving employees a choice among less or deferred pay, or fewer workdays, part of "various options we are looking at to make the business viable," says CEO Angeline Vere.
    • The company has 2.5M active subscribers.
    | Mon, Jul. 6, 12:17 PM | Comment!
  • Wed, Jul. 1, 3:41 PM
    • VimpelCom (VIP +2%) has named Alexander Matuschka -- chief transformation officer at Nokia Networks -- as its new group chief performance officer.
    • The hire comes amid a push to increase operating efficiency at the Russian telecom, and reduce cost along the way.
    • Earlier this week, the Justice Dept. began its own probe of VimpelCom (following in the footsteps of European investigations) over alleged bribes to access Uzbekistan's phone market.
    • Previously: U.S. piles in to bribery probe of Russian phone firms (Jun. 30 2015)
    | Wed, Jul. 1, 3:41 PM | Comment!
  • 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, Jun. 30, 10:01 AM | Comment!
  • 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.
    | Fri, May 15, 2:52 PM | Comment!
  • 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, 11:36 AM | Comment!
  • 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, 9:11 AM | Comment!
  • Tue, May 12, 9:16 AM
    | Tue, May 12, 9:16 AM | 3 Comments
  • 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)
    | Fri, Apr. 24, 3:50 PM | Comment!
  • 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.
    | Tue, Apr. 14, 2:16 PM | Comment!
  • 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, 1:55 PM | 3 Comments
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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