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VimpelCom closes Laos deal

VimpelCom closes Laos deal

BEELINE’S majority owner VimpelCom has completed its acquisition of 78 percent of Millicom Lao Company, paying US$88 million for the stake.

The firm’s chief executive officer Alexander Izosimov said with the closing of the transaction in Laos, Southeast Asia remained an important part of the firm’s strategy for international expansion.

“The telecommunications market in [Southeast Asia] has considerable potential, and we are confident in our ability to take advantage of the opportunities this region has to offer,” he stated in a VimpelCom press release.

The $88 million price tag contains some $65 million for equity and $23 million for repayment of debt, repayment of shareholder loan, and intra-group indebtedness, the press release said.  

The deal to purchase Luxembourg’s Millicom International Cellular’s interests in Laos was originally announced in September 2009 with a $66 million price tag. Completion, however, had been delayed “until it received the endorsement of the Lao government”.

Company officials at Beeline Cambodia did not return  a request for further comment yesterday.

Millicom Lao claimed over 500,000 subscribers at the end of February 2011, with market share of some 25 percent, according to a press release. The remaining 22 percent of Millicom Lao Company is owned by the Laos government.

Millicom had also been the majority owner of Cambodian provider Mobitel, before a November 2009 move that saw its partner, the well-known conglomerate Royal Group, purchase 61.5 percent of the operator.  

That deal won Telecomfinance magazine’s “2009 Asia Deal of the Year”.

VimpelCom is also planning to merge with Wind Telecom SpA to create the world’s sixth-largest phone company.

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