9 Mar 2010 16:30

Vimpelcom reviews Jan-Sept financials over KaR-Tel option

MOSCOW. March 9 (Interfax) - OJSC Vimpelcom has revisited a range of its financial results for January-September 2009 and 2008 in light of changes to the terms of options for the purchase from the company Crowell of 25% minus one share in the Cypriot offshore outfit Limnotex, sole owner of Kazakh cellular operator KaR-Tel, Vimpelcom materials say.

The reclassification of the options in the financial report does not impact Vimpelcom's net profits, nor combined assets or overall group debts. However, the revenue from one Vimpelcom share was adjusted down: From $26.42 to $26.31 for Jan-Sept 2008 and from $16.56 to $16.24 for the same period last year, and from $10.34 to $10.32 for 2008 as a whole.

Total equity was also revised down: by $469.6 million to $4.14 billion for 2008 and by $505.3 to $4.569 billion million for the nine months of 2009.

Vimpelcom bought 100% of Limnotex Developments Ltd., sole owner of KaR-Tel, for $350 million in September 2004. The following year, Vimpelcom sold 50% minus one share in Limnotex to Crowell, belonging to the shareholders in the Kazakh bank ATF Bank, with the right to buy back 25% minus one share.

Vimpelcom purchased 24.9% of the Limnotex under this right in summer 2008, taking its stake in KaR-Tel to 74.9%. Then it and Crowell clinched an agreement pertaining to a call and put option for the Russian operator to buy the remaining stock in Limnotex.

As of December 31, 2008, Vimpelcom had to exercise the put option at a set price somewhere between January 1 and December 31, 2010. Vimpelcom was required to exercise the call option after KaR-Tel released its financial report for 2008, but to sell it completely before December 31, 2011. The option terms were amended last May, the Vimpelcom materials say. Now the operator has the right to exercise the put option between January 1 and December 31, 2013, while the call option is to be used within three years of the day KaR-Tel releases its 2011 financial results. The full call option is to be exercised before the release of KaR-Tel's 2014 financial results.

KaR-Tel is Vimpelcom's biggest asset outside of Russia. It provides cellular and broadband Internet access under the Beeline brand in Kazakhstan. Its subscriber base had reached 6.8 million by the end of Q3 last year.