Worries Over Golden Telecom Deal

DAVOS, Switzerland -- VimpelCom, the county's second-largest cell phone operator, is hoping turbulent markets will not threaten a $4.3 billion planned acquisition of fixed-line compatriot Golden Telecom, the company's CEO said Wednesday.

"The market has deteriorated significantly," VimpelCom's chief executive, Alexander Izosimov, said on the first day of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. "I hope this is not going to affect banks working with us."

Banking sources said last week that VimpelCom had mandated eight banks -- ABN Amro, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Calyon, Citigroup, HSBC, ING and UBS -- to arrange a $3.5 billion syndicated loan to back its purchase of Golden Telecom.

Izosimov said the fact that VimpelCom had a long track record as a listed company and strong cash flow had helped its quest to tap the market for a loan.

But he added: "We are yet to close the transaction. We are not out of the woods yet."