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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Altimo Sets Itself Merger Objective

ISTANBUL -- Telecommunications firm Altimo is looking for opportunities to combine its emerging market assets with those of a leading European telecom company to create a company similar in size to Vodafone, Altimo CEO Alexei Reznikovich said Tuesday.

A deal with such a leading European telecoms firm could be reached within 1 1/2 years, Reznikovich said. He also said the company planned a joint IPO in Moscow and London, possibly in three years.

"We look for opportunities to combine our emerging market assets with assets of a leading European telecom company to create a company similar to Vodafone in size," he said.

Reznikovich said his company planned to keep its interest in leading Turkish mobile phone company Turkcell, currently at 13.2 percent, until it achieves its "potential real value."

He said he was optimistic that Turkcell would perform well in 2007, and that the firm was important to Altimo reaching a target value of $30 billion to $35 billion within three to four years.

Earlier, Altimo announced that it had opened a court case against its Turkish partner in Turkcell, Cukurova, in the Virgin Islands, for contract breaches.

Reznikovich said Cukurova should repay its $1.35 billion outstanding debt "as soon as possible." Earlier Altimo said Cukurova should make the repayment immediately. Under a previous deal, Altimo lent Cukurova $1.7 billion and took a 13.2 percent stake in the telecom giant.

But Altimo said the firm defaulted on payments 16 times and that it took out further loans worth several hundred millions of dollars, which was contrary to the original contract.