Moscow approves Veon’s sale of Russian unit to management

Moscow approves Veon’s sale of Russian unit to management

Alexander Torbakhov Veon.jpg

Veon is likely to complete sale of its Russian division to the management by 1 June, the company said this morning.

The announcement followed a declaration that Russian regulatory bodies have approved the proposed sale of its Russian operations.

Veon group CEO Kaan Terzioğlu said: “We believe the sale of our Russian business represents the optimal solution for Veon, its Russian operations, and all stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, creditors and employees both in and outside of Russia.”

The new owner will be a management buy-out of VimpelCom, led by its current CEO Alexander Torbakhov (pictured), subject to certain conditions, said Veon.

Terzioğlu added: “We are pleased to have reached this significant milestone in the transaction, which is expected to be accretive to equity, reduce Veon’s debt, and improve its credit profile.”

Veon appointed Torbakhov to head VimpelCom, which operates as Beeline, almost three years ago, when he replaced Vasyl Latsanych, who is now head of telecoms at Azerbaijan-based group Neqsol and chairs its Vodafone Ukraine subsidiary.

More than a decade earlier Torbakhov had run VimpelCom, before he became deputy chairman and CEO of Sberbank, the Savings Bank of the Russian Federation. Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia, central and eastern Europe.

With the sale of its Russian unit, Veon will be much smaller. According to 2021 figures, before Russia invaded Ukraine, around 52% of Veon’s business came from Russia, and another 13% from Ukraine. After June, Veon will be half of its original size.

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