VimpelCom enters the Lao cellular market
Amsterdam and New York (March 9, 2011) - “VimpelCom Ltd.” (“VimpelCom” or the “Company”) (NYSE: VIP), a leading international provider of telecommunications services, today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Millicom Holding Laos B.V., a company incorporated in the Netherlands (“Millicom”). Millicom holds a 78% interest in Millicom Lao Co., Ltd. a cellular telecom operator with operations in the Lao PDR. VimpelCom paid appr. $ 65 million for the equity and appr. $ 23 million for the repayment of debt, repayment of shareholder loan and intra-group indebtedness. The remaining 22% of Millicom Lao Co., Ltd. is owned by the Government of the Lao PDR. The agreement to acquire Millicom was signed in September 16, 2009, but completion of the transaction was delayed until it received the endorsement of the Lao government.
Alexander Izosimov, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom, commented: “We are pleased to announce the closing of our transaction in Laos. South-East Asia remains an important part of VimpelCom’s international expansion strategy. The telecommunications market in South-East Asia has considerable potential, and we are confident in our ability to take advantage of the opportunities this region has to offer”.
VimpelCom Ltd. consists of telecommunications operators providing voice and data services through a range of wireless, fixed and broadband technologies. The VimpelCom Ltd. group is headquartered in Amsterdam and has operations in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Cambodia, covering territory with a total population of about 345 million. VimpelCom Ltd. operating companies provide services under the “Beeline” and “Kyivstar” brands. VimpelCom Ltd.’s ADSs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “VIP”.
About Millicom Lao
Millicom Lao was established as a joint venture between Millicom International Cellular S.A. and the Government of Lao PDR. Millicom Lao commenced commercial operations of its GSM 900/1800 mobile network in April 2003. Within two years Millicom Lao completed its national network roll out covering all major cities. Currently Millicom Lao is one of the leading mobile operators in the country with over 500,000 subscribers as of the end of Feb 2011 and market share of approximately 25% (based on the company data). Millicom Lao holds nationwide GSM 900/1800 license.
Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
This announcement contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts, including statements concerning the anticipated merits of the transaction. Any statement in this announcement that expresses or implies VimpelCom’s intentions, beliefs, expectations or predictions (and the assumptions underlying them) is a forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including, without limitation, the possibility that expected benefits may not materialize. If such risks or uncertainties materialize or such assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. Certain other risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in any forward-looking statements include the risk factors described in VimpelCom’s proxy statement furnished to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) under cover of Form 6-K on February 15, 2011, VimpelCom’s registration statement on Form F-4 filed with the SEC, OJSC VimpelCom’s public filings with the SEC, including its Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2009, and other public filings made by the VimpelCom with the SEC, which risk factors are incorporated herein by reference. The forward-looking statements contained in this announcement are made as of the date hereof, and VimpelCom expressly disclaim any obligation to update or correct any forward-looking statements made herein due to the occurrence of events after the issuance of this announcement.
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