Telenor says no concessions in Vimpelcom fight: report
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Norway's Telenor (TEL.OL) has complied with Russian law in its efforts to control Russia's No.3 mobile operator, Vimpelcom VIP.N, a Telenor executive said in an interview on Thursday.
Telenor boosted its voting stake in Vimpelcom to 36.36 percent in mid-February, taking back partial control of the company from Altimo, the telecoms arm of Mikhail Fridman's Alfa-Group, with which it has fought a years-long corporate battle.
The move triggered a wave of hostilities with Altimo and prompted Vimpelcom to defer dividend payments.
Russia's anti-monopoly body, the FAS, filed a lawsuit in Moscow in April arguing the deal violated Russia's Strategic Investment Law. The FAS said last month that it was pushing for an out-of-court settlement between the shareholders of Vimpelcom.
Telenor officials remain adamant the company's efforts to secure control are legal.
"We believe that our actions were fully in line with the Russian law and there are no grounds for us to change our stance," Kjell-Morten Johnsen, Telenor's executive vice president and head of the company's European operations, told the Kommersant daily newspaper.
Johnsen also said the fight has not influenced Vimpelcom's ability to pay its debts and said the dispute can be resolved.
"I don't think the situation is really serious at the moment. The existing differences could be resolved. There are no grounds for a flaring up and the conflict to be dragged for a very long period of time," Johnsen said.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Matt Driskill)
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