Telenor to divest 33% stake in VimpelCom

Telenor to divest 33% stake in VimpelCom

Telenor has announced plans to sell its 33% stake in VimpelCom to focus on its core operations.

The operator said it will explore all options to divest its $2.4 billion stake (20 billion krone) in VimpelCom. 

VimpelCom has struggled amid the weak Russian economy. Its stock declined in the third quarter and ended at $4.11 a share.

"The VimpelCom asset, where Telenor holds a minority position without the possibility to fully control the company, has been challenging," said Svein Aaser, chairman of the Telenor Group board. "The disposal of our shares is in the best interest of our shareholders, and in accordance with Telenor Group's long-term strategic focus.” 

Telenor said it has no time frame set for the divestment, adding that such a process would normally take time. 

Telenor acquired a third of VimpelCom in 1999 in a move to expand beyond the Nordic region. It has invested 15 million krone in VimpelCom and has received 20 billion krone in dividends.

Telenor's then chief executive, Jon Frederik Baksaas, revealed in October 2014 that it was exploring options for its stake in VimpelCom.