MOSCOW Oct 4 Bank Rossiya is considering taking
part in a deal for a stake in Russian telecoms operator Tele2,
the St Petersburg-based bank said in response to a report that
companies representing the bank have asked permission to buy 50
percent of the business.
State-controlled VTB bought 100 percent of Nordic
telecom Tele2's Russian business in April for $3.55
Analysts have said they expect VTB to sell the firm on to
another party, with many pointing to Rostelecom, the
country's fifth largest telecoms operator, as an option.
Interfax news agency earlier reported that Russia's
anti-monopoly service, FAS, received a request from companies
representing Bank Rossiya for permission to buy 50 percent of
telecoms operator Tele2 Russia from VTB.
"Bank Rossiya is considering the possibility of
participating in this deal," a press officer for the bank said
by email, making no further comment regarding the details of its
St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya was reported in the Russian
press in June to be interested in buying a stake in Tele2, but
the bank was expected to be an intermediary rather than the
final purchaser of the business.
Bank Rossiya is part owned by Yuri Kovalchuk, a St.
Petersburg banker whose association with President Vladimir
Putin dates back to the early 1990s.
Interfax reported on Friday that Invinte B.V. and ABR
Investments, affiliated with Bank Rossiya, applied for
permission from FAS.
A FAS official confirmed two companies had applied but could
not name them or the entity they represent.
VTB said that the bank might sell a stake in Tele2 in the
next couple of weeks but that it intends to remain a large
minority shareholder with a share not less than 20 percent. The
bank declined comment on potential buyers.