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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Telenor to Take Legal Action Following Alfa Group Boycott

OSLO -- Norwegian operator Telenor said Alfa Group on Monday boycotted a shareholders meeting of Ukrainian operator Kyivstar, and that it will take legal steps against Alfa.

"Alfa has once again chosen to boycott a legitimate Kyivstar shareholders meeting," Telenor executive vice president Jan Edvard Thygesen said in a statement.

Dag Melgaard, spokesman for Telenor, said the incident would have serious consequences for Alfa Group.

"This will have consequences for Alfa's reputation in the international business environment, and we will also run this through the possible courts in order to force Alfa to behave in a proper manner," Melgaard said.

Alfa Group was not immediately available for comment.

Telenor had hoped to get closer to a solution to its long-running battles with Alfa Group, which have prompted Telenor to remove 56.5 percent owned Kyivstar from its group accounts.

A U.S. arbitration court ruled in the Norwegian group's favor in August and ordered Alfa to sell its Kyivstar stake or its interests in rival Ukrainian operators.

It also told Alfa to drop court injunctions that prevent Telenor from gaining information about Kyivstar operations.

Alfa's Altimo, the telecoms investment arm of billionaire Mikhail Fridman that owns the remaining 43.5 percent of Kyivstar through an affiliate called Storm, has said the New York ruling could not be enforced in Ukraine.

Telenor disagrees, saying the ruling is enforceable in Ukraine because of international treaties signed by the country.

Melgaard confirmed that the Alfa Group no show meant Telenor's hope of again consolidating Kyivstar in its accounts would be postponed.

"It is hard to see a short-term solution here, but we are not in any hurry," he said.

Another shareholders meeting was scheduled for later Monday, Telenor said.