MTS Ukraine could sell stake to European investor

22 October 2014 | Kavit Majithia

Russian operator MTS could sell its minority stake in Ukraine to a western company, as pressure mounts on the operator following political instability in the country.

According to reports, the Ukrainian government is likely to favour bids from European companies in the country’s airwave auction in a bid to curb Russia’s influence on the economy.

Russian-registered companies that own over 50% in Ukraine are not likely to be allowed to participate in Ukraine’s long-awaited 3G auction, according to reports in Kiev.

MTS is likely to partner with a western investor to share the investment in Ukraine, with a 3G licence likely to cost approximately $232 million each.

However, it is more likely that MTS will seek to sell a stake in the country, given the pressures it is facing from the Ukrainian government to reduce its presence.

MTS Ukraine is the country’s second-largest operator, and the only one that is controlled by a Russian player.

Earlier this year, MTS cut its forecasts for operations in Ukraine given the political instability.