MOSCOW, June 25 Russia's top mobile phone
operator MTS said on Tuesday it had settled a lawsuit
over the 51-percent stake it bought in Kyrgyz operator Bitel in
2005 and would book a $320 million gain in the second quarter of
MTS wrote off that amount in 2006 after it failed to gain
operational control of what was then Kyrgyzstan's biggest mobile
operator because its ownership was in dispute.
The initial stake was bought from a holding company which
owned Bitel and also sold MTS an option to buy the rest of the
company for $170 million.
Bitel was later sold to Sky Mobile, a unit of MTS's Russian
rival Vimpelcom, part-owned by Russian billionaire
Mikhail Fridman's Altimo which became one of the parties to a
legal case brought by MTS.
In a statement on Tuesday, MTS said all proceedings had been
waived and that it would receive up to $150 million from one of
the parties involved. It did not elaborate.
Altimo was not immediately available for comment.
MTS's New-York listed stock was trading 0.8 percent higher
by 1618 GMT. Vimpelcom rose 1 percent.