Moscow and New York (February 9, 2006) — Open Joint Stock Company "Vimpel-Communications" ("VimpelCom" or the "Company") (NYSE: VIP) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of LLC "Unitel", the second largest Uzbekistani cellular operator. The purchase price for Unitel was US$200 million plus assumption of approximately US$7.7 million in debt.
On January 18, 2006 VimpelCom announced that it executed an agreement with Germanos S.A. (Industrial and Commercial Company of Electronic Telecommunication Material and Supply of Telecommunication Services S.A.), Mr. Panos Germanos and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to purchase Unitel.
Unitel holds GSM-900 and 1800 licenses and currently serves approximately 364,000 subscribers, representing, according to the company's estimates, a 31% market share in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia and borders Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. With a population of approximately 26 million, Uzbekistan has the third largest population in the CIS behind Russia and Ukraine and had a mobile penetration rate of only 4.5% at the end of 2005. Uzbekistan has significant gold deposits as well as oil and gas and other important minerals. Its GDP had an annual rate of growth of 7.7% in 2004.
LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae acted as legal advisor to VimpelCom in these transactions.
The VimpelCom Group of companies comprises cellular operators providing their services in Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as newly acquired cellular operators in Ukraine, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The VimpelCom Group's license portfolio covers approximately 232 million people. Geographically it covers 78 regions in Russia (with 136.5 million people, representing 94% of Russia's population) as well as the entire territories of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. VimpelCom was the first Russian company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"). VimpelCom's ADSs are listed on the NYSE under the symbol "VIP".
For more information, please contact:
Ian Bailey/Michael Polyviou