VimpelCom to divest operations in Africa and Asia

Russian operator VimpelCom is set to divest its emerging market businesses in Africa and Asia to focus on core growth.

It is thought the company has already spoken to potential buyers of its sub-Saharan African units in Burundi and the Central African Republic, as part of a restructuring programme intended at promoting growth in mature markets like Russia and Italy.

VimpelCom is also set to sell its Zimbabwean business, Telecel Zimbabwe, which will resolve present outstanding ownership and licensing issues.

According to the Financial Times, the three business units are valued at more than $60 million, with $94 million generated in revenues from 2.8 mobile subscribers collectively.

In the Asian market, VimpelCom said it is planning to set off its three businesses in Cambodia, where it has more than one million subscribers.

The company has undergone several changes over the past year, after it created five business units across the world following a series of high profile acquisitions. This includes purchasing a controlling stake in Italy’s Wind Telecom for $6 billion.

Its five business units, which include units from Europe and North America, the CIS, Africa and Asia, largely operate as disparate telecoms assets, and market watchers have commented that the telecoms group does not run as a cohesive operator with resulting synergies.

Early rumoured interest in its African unit has come from telecoms groups looking to gain a foothold in the markets, while its Asian businesses are thought to be the subject of established companies looking to consolidate positions.