5 Oct 2009 14:30

Kyivstar to retain brand for time being; fate of URS not decided

MOSCOW. Oct 5 (Interfax) - Ukrainian mobile operator Kyivstar, which will be merged with Russian VimpelCom , will retain its own brand for the time being.

"Both Altimo and Telenor are vary cautiously approaching the issue of changes to marketing policy. VimpelCom and Kyivstar are market-leading, well-functioning companies. The leadership of the merged company will make the decision on brands, but in the short-term the two companies will continue operating under their own brands," Alexei Reznikovich, the head of Altimo, said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.

Kyivstar might transfer to the VimpelCom brand in the long term, he said.

The fate of VimpelCom-owned Ukrainian Radio Systems (URS), has not been discussed so far, he said.

"The new management will make that decision. The possible range of decisions is clear: from uniting efforts with Kyivstar to possible sale. The board of directors will decide what will add shareholder value. For now detailed analysis has not been conducted. That's the prerogative of the management of the new company," he said.

Alexander Torbakhov, the general director of VimpelCom, that URS has just a fraction of Kyivstar's share of the mobile communications market, although it is a fairly major player on the fixed-line market. "So it mustn't be said that URS is definitely being taken to slaughter," he said.