Moscow and New York (December 29, 2005) Ś Open Joint Stock Company "Vimpel-Communications" ("VimpelCom" or the "Company") (NYSE: VIP)today announced that it has acquired a 60% interest in Limited Liability Company "Tacom", a cellular operator in Tajikistan. The Company paid a purchase price of US$12 million for the acquired stake. Tacom holds national GSM-900/1800, UMTS, CDMA 450 and AMPS licenses.
In connection with the acquisition of its stake in Tacom, the Company entered into a shareholders agreement with the remaining shareholders in Tacom, who hold a 40% interest in Tacom. One of the remaining shareholders is a beneficial owner and Chairman of Joint Stock Company "Orienbank", the largest bank in Tajikistan. Among other things, the shareholders agreement grants options to VimpelCom to acquire up to the entire interest held by the remaining shareholders under certain circumstances, thus allowing VimpelCom to own up to 100% of Tacom. The exercise prices for the options are based upon a prescribed formula.
Commenting on today's announcement, Alexander Izosimov, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom, said, "We are pleased that we are starting operations in Tajikistan. We will develop and integrate Tacom into the Beeline network and use our unified business approach. Given the latest economic performance of the country and penetration rate of only 4% we see good growth opportunities in Tajikistan."
Tajikistan is located in Central Asia and borders Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China. With a population of approximately 7 million, Tajikistan has one of the highest GDP growth in the CIS with an annual rate of growth in 2004 of 10.5%. Tajikistan has significant bauxite deposits and energy resource and cotton production.
VimpelCom is a leading international provider of mobile telecommunications services in Russia and Kazakhstan, with newly acquired operations in Ukraine. The VimpelCom Group's license portfolio covers approximately 200 million people. Geographically it covers 78 regions in Russia (with 136.5 million people, representing 94% of Russia's population) as well as the entire territory of Kazakhstan and Ukraine. VimpelCom was the first Russian company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"). VimpelCom's ADSs are listed on the NYSE under the symbol "VIP".