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MOSCOW, March 19 Russia's Vimpelcom is
considering a refinancing plan to improve the capital structure
of its Italian subsidiary Wind, the mobile phone operator said
The plan may include a cash injection of 500 million euros
($695.7 million) by Vimpelcom, part-owned by Mikhail Fridman's
Altimo and Norway's Telenor, the company said.
"The aim of the refinancing plan is to provide (Vimpelcom)
with significant interest cost savings, stronger cash flow
generation, a deleveraging trajectory and an extended maturity
profile," the company said in a statement.
Vimpelcom bought Wind in 2011 in a deal which also saw it
take a 51 percent stake in Egypt-based Orascom Telecom
for $6 billion. Vimpelcom has a total net debt of $22.6 billion
according to its latest earnings report.
Vimpelcom has a total net debt of $22.6 billion according to
its latest earnings report, of which Wind's debt accounts for
There has been media speculation that Vimpelcom will seek to
refinance or merge Wind because Italy's mobile companies have
faced fierce price competition. Telecom Italia is the
leading player in Italy's mobile phone market, followed by
Vodafone Italia, Vimpelcom's Wind and Hutchison
Whampoa's 3 Italia.
Vimpelcom said in its statement on Wednesday that Wind is
seeking lenders' consent to amend its lending agreement to allow
the financing plan to be implemented.
The amendments would include up to an additional 800 million
euros of transaction costs, fees and expenses in debt incurrence
to allow a refinancing of pay-in-kind notes guaranteed by
Wind's immediate parent.
($1 = 0.7188 euros)
(Reporting by Megan Davies, editing by Jason Bush and Louise