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Tele2 could be good partner to Svyazinvest

28 апреля 2010

 Swedish telecom operator Tele2 AB could make an efficient partner for the mobile operations of Russia's state-controlled telecoms holding, its top executive in that country said Monday.

"We maintain dialogue with (holding) OAO Svyazinvest ... we've have heard propositions from them," Dmitry Strashnov, Tele2's chief in Russia, told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

The Russian government is in the process of restructuring Svyazinvest--its main assets are seven regional fixed-line operators, but many of these have mobile businesses that together have 16 million mobile subscribers. The government has said it wants to merge these into a single business and Tele2 is one potential partner with just over 15 million users in Russia.

However, Strashnov said that the only efficient way to integrate Svyvazinvest's operations with Tele2's would be using the Swedish company's business model and managerial oversight.

Tele2 last week reported a 32% increase in first-quarter revenue from its Russian business to 9.02 billion rubles ($310 million), as its won almost five million new subscribers over the year.

The three Russian companies with nationwide networks--OAO Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom Ltd. and OAO Megafon--haven't yet reported first-quarter results, but posted slim revenue growth in the country for 2009.

Strashnov said that during Russia's recession Tele2's business fared better than its larger Russian peers.

"More and more people in the crisis started thinking about costs," he said, noting that the company aims to keep its prices at least 15% lower than rivals'.

Tele2's margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization is around 45% in regions where it has been operating for several years, but averages 32% across the country, since many of its regional operations were launched in the past two years.

The company's recent popularity has put pressure on MTS and VimpelCom, whose margins are slightly under 50%.

Источник: Total Telecom

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