Telenor raises stake in VimpelCom to 36.36 per cent; drops arbitration claim

Telenor has purchased 234,000,000 VimpelCom preferred shares from Weather Investments ll Sarl, for $374.4 million, thereby increasing Telenor's voting share in VimpelCom Ltd to 36.36 per cent, subject to adjustment arising under certain put and call arrangements. 

Weather is the investment vehicle through which Naguib Sawiris and his family hold their interests in VimpelCom Ltd..

Following the transaction, Telenor has withdrawn all its claims against Altimo Holdings & Investments Ltd, Altimo Cooperatief UA and VimpelCom Ltd in the pending arbitration proceeding, and will work to expand the VimpelCom board to eleven members. 

Telenor's withdrawal of its claims will result in the termination of the VimpelCom shareholders agreement.

"This transaction takes Telenor to approximately the same voting position as a successful outcome of the arbitration process would have achieved, and is therefore a commercial solution we are happy with," said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor's CEO.  "The withdrawal of the arbitration claim will prevent further dilution of the VimpelCom shareholders, and it will enable a more normal corporate governance situation in VimpelCom.  We will work to expand the VimpelCom Board to eleven members. Together with the other shareholders we will continue our contribution to the industrial development of VimpelCom as we always have done," he added.

"I am very happy about this transaction which will allow Weather to participate actively in the supervisory board of VimpelCom, will foster improved corporate governance of the company and ensure a better focus of the management on industrial issues in a context in which the existing disputes among the key shareholders have been resolved," said Naguib Sawiris.