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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alfa Telecom Prefers Status Quo at VimpelCom

Alfa Telecom does not want to force Telenor to sell its holding in No. 2 Russian mobile operator VimpelCom or to push it to buy Alfa's stake in the company, a top Alfa executive said.

"We are not interested in selling our shares in VimpelCom, and we are not ready to buy shares in VimpelCom belonging to Telenor, even if they wanted to sell them," Alfa Telecom CEO Alexei Reznikovich said in an interview.

The two companies are at loggerheads over the proposed purchase by VimpelCom of mobile operator Ukrainian RadioSystems. The URS deal is opposed by Norwegian-based Telenor, which owns 30 percent of VimpelCom, but backed by Alfa, VimpelCom's top shareholder.

VimpelCom's board on Friday voted in favor of the $230 million bid for URS, but Telenor says it is not binding because the plan requires the approval of 80 percent of the company's directors.

"We do not want to sell our VimpelCom shares, and we are not looking at the possibility of swapping our stake in Kyivstar for a stake in VimpelCom. ... The status quo entirely suits us."

 Alfa Telecom could acquire up to 27 percent of Turkey's top mobile phone firm, Turkcell, via a $3.3 billion convertible debt deal with the troubled Cukurova group. Earlier reports said Alfa had an option to buy just 13.2 percent of Turkcell from Cukurova, which owns 40 percent of Turkcell.