UPDATE 1-Vimpelcom set to sell African, Asian businesses- FT

Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:28am EDT

MOSCOW Oct 29 (Reuters) - Telecoms group Vimpelcom is set to sell a number of businesses in Asia and Africa to focus on its core markets such as Russia and Italy, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The New York-listed phone company is holding talks with potential buyers for its assets in Burundi and the Central African Republic, and is also looking to sell Telecel Zimbabwe after resolving ownership issues, the paper said.

Together, the three businesses could be valued at more than $60 million, the FT reported, citing a source.

Vimpelcom is also looking to sell its units in Cambodia, where it has around 1 million customers, and Laos, with around 400,000 subscribers, the paper said.

Vimpelcom is focusing on reducing debt and concentrating on growth in core markets such as Italy and Russia, which account for around 70 per cent of the company's business, the newspaper said. However, it is expected to retain some strategic growth market businesses such as in Algeria.

A spokesman for Vimpelcom said the company is working to maximise value across all of its businesses.

"We will look at all options during this process but have no further comment concerning the progress we have made," he said.

The company's large shareholders are Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group and Norwegian telecoms group Telenor.

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