Архив за месяц: Май 2015

Ups and downs on Oslo Stock Exchange

Klassekampen.no  29.05.2015

 

The benchmark index on the Oslo Stock Exchange was down 0.1% to close at 644.8 points on May 29. Norsk Hydro was the most traded company (+1.7%), followed by Telenor (+0.2%) and Marine Harvest (+0.1%).

 

Det var til dels store utslag for de mest omsatte aksjene pa Oslo Bors fredag formiddag, men i sum var det liten endring. Hovedindeksen la etter en droy time pa 644,8 poeng – ned 0,1 prosent. Det mest omsatte selskapet er Norsk Hydro, som far okt kursen 1,7 prosent. Ogsa for Telenor (+0,2) og Marine Harvest (+0,1) gar det oppover. I motsatt retning trekker blant annet Seadrill (-1,6), som informerte markedet om svakere framtidsutsikter torsdag – og fallet fortsetter fredag. Andre aksjer som faller er Statoil (-0,6), Royal Caribbean Cruises (-2,4) og DNB (-0,2). Oljeprisene gar noe opp. Et fat nordsjoolje far fredag formiddag for 63,07 dollar, mens amerikansk lettolje prises til 58,28 dollar fatet. Ute i Europa faller de toneangivende borsene, dagen etter at sjefen i Det internasjonale pengefondet (IMF), Christine Lagarde, uttalte at det finnes en mulighet for at Hellas gar ut av eurosonen. I Frankfurt faller DAX 30-indeksen 1,3 prosent, mens CAC 40 i Paris gar ned 1,1 prosent. Utviklingen er noe mindre dramatisk i London, der FTSE 100-indeksen faller 0,4 prosent.

 

http://www.klassekampen.no/article/20150529/NTBO/1136978330

 

Kyivstar seeks to provide 3G services to students

Gigamir.net  29.05.2015

 

Kyivstar has announced prices for its 3G services, with monthly payments ranging between UAH35 and UAH150. The operator also seeks to become more popular with students by offering new service packages with free access to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Odnoklassniki, and VKontakte.

 

Озвученные “Киевстаром” тарифы на 3G-связь могут заставить конкурентов снизить цены. Крупнейший оператор мобильной связи “Киевстар”, который обслуживает 26 млн абонентов, озвучил свои тарифы на связь третьего поколения – 3G. Во всех пяти новых тарифах припейд абонентам предоставляются безлимитные звонки внутри сети и лимитированный объем трафика на скорости 3G – от 50 Мб до 2 500 Мб. После исчерпания объема пакетного трафика абонент сможет и дальше пользоваться интернетом, но на скорости 2G – GPRS , как сейчас. Ежемесячная абонплата в 3G тарифах “Киевстар” составляет от 35 грн до 150 грн в месяц. Существующие абоненты смогут подключить 3G-бандлы – пакеты мобильных данных – без смены тарифного плана. Самый дешевый пакет из 250 Мб стоит 20 грн в месяц. За самый дорогой, 3 Гб, ежемесячно придется платить по 150 грн. На вопрос, когда “Киевстар” запустит 3G-сеть в коммерческую эксплуатацию, менеджеры компании отвечают расплывчато: очень скоро. Пока оператор только тестирует ее: в Каменце-Подольском, Львове, Киеве и Киевской области. Тарифные игры “Киевстар” последним из операторов приоткрыл завесу над тарифами на скоростной интернет. “ МТС -Украина” уже предоставляет абонентам 3G в партнерстве с оператором “Тримоб”, который принадлежит “Укртелекому” и с 2006 года владеет лицензией на 3G. В рамках услуги “3G безлимит” абонент получает 2 500 Мб трафика на скорости до 7,2 Мбит/с. Когда пакетный трафик заканчивается, скорость снижается до 150 Кбит/с. Как рассказала начальник отдела по связям с общественностью “ МТС -Украина” Виктория Рубан, в будущем эта услуга будет доступна абонентам на базе собственной 3G-сети оператора. “Астелит” – life:) – предоставляет услуги 3G-связи на своей сети во Львове. За 89 грн в месяц абонентам предлагается 500 Мб трафика на скорости до 63,3 Мбит/с. За 149 грн в месяц можно получить 2 Гб, а за 239 грн – 4Гб. “life:), которая изначально в 2G-сетях предлагала самые низкие тарифы, в данном случае не выглядит дискаунтером”, – замечает директор по маркетингу компании “Интеллектуальные коммуникации” (Giraffe) Тарас Кучерявый. Эксперт рынка мобильной связи Глеб Вышлинский предполагает, что слишком высокие тарифы могут навредить life:). Абоненты предпочтут остаться в 2G-сети или перейдут к конкурентам. Он напоминает, что беспроводной скоростной интернет также предоставляют компании “Интертелеком” (CDMA) и Giraffe (WiMax). По мнению Кучерявого, самый высокий тариф “Киевстара” как раз нацелен на абонентов этих операторов. “Цена 150 грн – рыночная. Среди абонентов Giraffe самый популярный тариф – 165 грн в месяц. Правда, и трафика они потребляют больше. Раньше это было 35 Гб, сейчас – 40 Гб в месяц”, – рассказывает он. Скорее всего, к этому тарифу будут подключаться технологические первопроходцы – абоненты, которые и сейчас активно пользуются мобильным интернетом, рассуждает менеджер. Сколько абоненту нужно Пресс-секретарь “ МТС -Украина” Виктория Павловская рассказывает, что за три месяца количество пользователей скоростного мобильного интернета достигло 180 тыс в более чем в 50 городах Украины. За апрель 3G-абоненты “ МТС -Украина” использовали в общей сложности около 150 ТБ. В странах группы МТС , где 3G-пользование уже сложилось, среднемесячный объем потребления составляет 1,7 Гб. “3G-тарифы – это тарифы, рассчитанные на большие объемы потребления. Именно такие тарифы будут пользоваться наибольшим спросом. Мы это видим даже по 2G. Самые востребованные дата-тарифы – это тарифы с безлимитным интернетом”, – рассказывает Павловская. Впрочем, специалисты “Киевстара” посчитали, что массовому потребителю мобильного интернета в Украине в месяц хватит несколько сотен мегабайт. По данным исследования, которое представил оператор, пользователи 3G в Германии в среднем используют по 250 Мб интернета в месяц, во Франции – 300 Мб. Самые высокие показатели потребления мобильного интернет-трафика в Азии – Южной Корее и Японии – более 2 Гб на абонента. Не такой уже и дискаунтер “В отличие от наших конкурентов, мы не считаем, что связь 3G должна быть премиальной услугой”, – говорит директор по маркетингу “Киевстара” Святослав Горбань. Он уверен, что новые тарифы помогут компании максимально охватить разные категории абонентов. В тарифах с наибольшим объемом пакетных данных “Киевстар смартфон +” и “Киевстар смартфон экстра” предусмотрена возможность бесплатно заходить в социальные сети Facebook, Twitter, “Одноклассники” и “ВКонтакте”. “Это придумали наши маркетологи, чтобы стать самым популярным оператором у студентов”, – говорит президент “Киевстара” Петр Чернышев. Он не боится, что компанию начнут воспринимать как дискаунтера, и доходы оператора упадут. “У нас и так ARPU (средний доход от одного абонента в месяц. – ЭП) ниже некуда, 37 грн. Мы не дураки, чтобы еще больше его снижать”, – говорит Чернышев. Он утверждает, что с запуском 3G-сети и новых тарифов доходы оператора начнут расти, но переход на более высокие тарифы будет для абонентов “простым и безболезненным”. То есть абоненты, которые раньше тратили на связь 90 грн, теперь будут тратить 95 грн. “Это повышение тарифов, но с большей скоростью передачи данных”, – добавляет Вышлинский.

 

http://gigamir.net/money/pub1782737

 

Wind officially interested in Metroweb

Firstonline.info  29.05.2015

 

Wind expects to sign a new letter of intent with shareholders of the broadband firm Metroweb – F2i and FSI – jointly with Vodafone. The latter has already given the go-ahead to the move.

 

Dopo la mossa di Wind si attende la firma di una nuova lettera di intenti comune che sara siglata Vodafone Italia, che ha gia dato il nullaosta, Wind e i due soci di Metroweb: F2i e Fsi (controllata da Cdp). Wind ha ufficializzato, con una lettera d’intenti arrivata oggi ad F2i (primo socio di Metroweb), il suo interesse a realizzare, attraverso un veicolo comune individuato in Metroweb Sviluppo, gli investimenti in banda ultra larga. L’accettazione di F2i riguardo all’interesse manifestato da Wind, secondo quanto riferisce Radiocor, e attesa tra oggi e domani. Dopo la mossa di Wind si attende la firma di una nuova lettera di intenti comune che sara siglata da Vodafone Italia, che ha gia dato l’ok, Wind e i due soci di Metroweb: F2i e Fsi (controllata da Cdp). La lettera di intenti comune conterra in nuce il piano industriale da realizzare con il numero di citta da coprire in banda ultra larga.

 

http://www.firstonline.info/a/2015/05/29/banda-ultralarga-wind-ufficialmente-interessata-a-/f2a974cd-3af7-487a-82f8-13e021916f22

 

Wind, Vodafone ink letter of intent with Metroweb

Italiaoggi.it  29.05.2015

 

Wind and Vodafone have signed a letter of intent with fiber-optic provider Metroweb to sketch a roadmap for the creation of a newco to roll out faster networks nationwide. The document contains guidelines for the drafting of the industrial plan to be carried out by Vodafone and Wind with regard to Metroweb.

 

La lettera di intenti tra Wind e Vodafone per entrare nel progetto Metroweb e stata firmata ieri nel tardo pomeriggio. L’idea e’ quella di creare una societa ad hoc (newco) che avra il compito di realizzare la cablatura in fibra ottica del territorio nazionale. E’ quanto ha appreso Mf-Dowjones da una fonte a conoscenza dei fatti che precisa come la lettera porti in calce, oltre alla firma dei due operatori telefonici, anche quelle di F2i e Fsi, azionisti di Metroweb. Il documento, prosegue la fonte, ricalca la missiva siglata a marzo scorso da Vodafone, senza alcuna indicazione di prezzo ma solo una dichiarazione di intenti finalizzata alla stesura del piano industriale che Vodafone e Wind hanno intenzione di realizzare con Metroweb. Una sorta di road map dei prossimi passi che le due societa’ hanno intenzione di compiere, senza pero assumere un vero e proprio impegno formale.

 

http://www.italiaoggi.it/news/dettaglio_news.asp?id=201505290949584374&chkAgenzie=ITALIAOGGI

 

3 Italia and Wind expected to merge soon

Cellulartopic.com  29.05.2015

 

A merger between VimpelCom-owned Wind Telecommunicazioni and Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 Italia seems to be a done deal and is expected to be closed in summer 2015, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. The merger would create Italy’s third largest mobile operator with over 30 million customers, behind Telecom Italia and Vodafone.

 

Una scossa importante nel mondo della telefonia: la fusione forse gia quest’estate Sembra proprio che il vento in Italia, il vento delle comunicazioni, stia per aumentare. E’ praticamente cosa fatta, l’unione di due delle 4 compagnie telefoniche che da anni si dividono il mercato italiano delle telecomunicazioni: ad annunciarlo e la nota testata economica Bloomberg . E’ anche vero che sono anni ormai che si sente parlare di questa mossa, ma a sostegno della veridicita di questa notizia sappiamo che e stato sciolto il nodo di chi debba effettivamente essere a capo di questo matrimonio: sara Hutchinson Whampoa (azienda cinese), che controlla 3 Italia, a detenere il 51% , mentre le restanti quote andranno a Vimpelcom (azienda russa), che controlla Wind; oltre a questo, si conosce il nome del futuro amministratore delegato, e cioe Maximo Ibarra , attualmente AD di Wind, e come supervisore di 3 Italia ci sara Vincenzo Novari . Le prime considerazioni da fare, ovviamente riguardano i numeri che si andranno a modificare dopo questa unione. Attualmente il mercato e cosi suddiviso, in termini di Sim attive: Telecom Italia 32,2% , Vodafone 29,4% , Wind 22,3% e 3 Italia 10% , 6,1% operatori virtuali, cioe senza rete propria. I conti sono presto fatti! La fusione portera alla creazione di un terzo colosso delle telecomunicazione, da 30 milioni di clienti , che andra a scontrarsi alla pari con Telecom e Vodafone, con prezzi bassi e voglia di investire nello sviluppo tecnologico. Ma se dal lato dello sviluppo, questa e una grande notizia, visto anche il continuo progredire della rete 4G, dal lato concorrenziale e della clientela , per molti, questa notizia puo portare solo ad una cosa: l’ aumento dei prezzi minimi . Si perche, fino ad ora, confronti di tariffe alla mano, Wind e 3 Italia, hanno costretto Telecom e Vodafone a rivedere i loro prezzi, in favore del cliente, grazie alla loro politica Low Cost (Wind) e tariffa + device (3 Italia). Cosi facendo le tre super-potenze si dividerebbero un equo 30% a testa del mercato, fermando cosi la gara a chi offre il servizio migliore al miglior prezzo . Non proprio l’ideale per il consumatore. Sempre secondo Bloomberg, l’ufficialita arrivera entro 3 mesi, anche se Jean-Yves Charlier , AD di Vimpelcom, ha dichiarato: “sono in corso le trattative, ma non ci sono certezze che sara trovato l’accordo. la transazione deve essere soddisfacente”. Non ci resta che aspettare per vedere i piani tariffari e le condizioni contrattuali offerte da questo matrimonio, nella speranza che la clientela, come me e voi, ne possa giovare. Vi invito anche a leggere questo articolo interessantissimo, un po lungo, ma che vale la pena leggere per comprendere meglio alcuni aspetti:

 

http://www.cellulartopic.com/tariffe-operatori/13160-3-italia-e-wind-insieme-fusione-prevista-breve.html

 

Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Wind launch fundraising consortium

Mondo3.com  29.05.2015

 

Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italia and Wind have set up a consortium dubbed “Dono per…” [“I Donate to…”], a legal entity designed to encompass all initiatives for raising and distributing funds for charity as well as loans to political parties or other movements. The operators said the NGO aims to make fundraising more effective by accepting donations both through calls from fixed lines and text messages.

 

Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italia e Wind hanno costituito “Dono per…”, societa consortile a responsabilita limitata, che gestira le iniziative per la raccolta e la distribuzione di fondi a scopo di beneficenza nonche di finanziamenti in favore di partiti o movimenti di natura politica, come previsto dalla nuova normativa. La societa non ha fini di lucro e, quindi, eventuali utili di gestione saranno impegnati in progetti di carattere sociale. Le principali aziende di telecomunicazioni, hanno deciso, insieme, di dar vita ad un nuovo soggetto giuridico per garantire omogeneita e unicita di comportamento alle Organizzazioni No-Profit, ai Partiti Politici, alle Istituzioni e ai Media. “Dono per…” si pone l’obiettivo di rendere piu efficiente il servizio di raccolta fondi attraverso le chiamate da rete fissa o gli sms. I cittadini che effettueranno le donazioni avranno la garanzia che l’importo da loro devoluto andra all’iniziativa beneficiaria, all’associazione o al partito politico prescelto, ad eccezione di una minima parte (non oltre il 4% dei fondi raccolti) che coprira i costi sostenuti dal consorzio per la gestione delle diverse attivita di fund raising. Il consorzio, che avra una struttura operativa molto snella, risponde anche alle richieste piu volte espresse da molti soggetti appartenenti al “Terzo Settore”, per una semplificazione dei processi di gestione e una maggiore focalizzazione sulle attivita di fund raising. “Dono per…” , la cui partecipazione e aperta a tutti gli operatori fissi e mobili, sara guidato da personalita terze di alto profilo, indicate in modo paritario dai soci stessi. Il Cda di “Dono per…” , riunitosi mercoledi per la prima volta, e composto da Antonio Catricala, Enrico Giovannini e Simona Signoracci che ricoprira la carica di Presidente Esecutivo.

 

http://www.mondo3.com/italia-mobile/2015-05-29-consorzio-dono-per.html

 

Cellular operators may reduce roaming charges in CIS countries

Аrka.am  29.05.2015

 

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service has sent out letters to MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom, and T2 RTK Holding, asking them to negotiate with their roaming partners the amount of inter-operator payments which determine the cost of these services to be paid by subscribers. The initiative is being examined by the operators.

 

Федеральная антимонопольная служба (ФАС) РФ разослала российским сотовым операторам письма (копии есть в распоряжении «Ведомостей») с просьбой направить их роуминговым партнерам оферты об изменении ставок взаиморасчетов, от размера которых во многом зависит стоимость услуги для абонента, передает vedomosti.ru. Тем самым ФАС следует «Принципам справедливого роуминга» – документу, разработанному в начале этого года и направленному на снижение конечных цен в роуминге до «комфортных», говорится в письмах. Речь идет о снижении платы, которую оператор, заключивший договор с абонентом, перечисляет оператору «гостевой» сети, обслуживающей этого абонента во время его пребывания в другой стране. Такие письма были разосланы операторам в начале мая, подтвердил «Ведомостям» начальник управления контроля транспорта и связи ФАС Дмитрий Рутенберг. Аналогичные письма направили операторам своих стран антимонопольные органы Белоруссии и Казахстана, знает он. На пересмотр соглашений о роуминге операторам отпущено время до конца сентября 2015 г., после этого ФАС оставляет за собой право «применить меры антимонопольного реагирования». Представители компаний сотовой «большой тройки» (МТС, «Мегафон» и «Вымпелком») и «Т2 РТК холдинга» (бренд Tele2) говорят, что письма получены и изучаются. Но добиться от партнеров значительного снижения межоператорских платежей будет очень тяжело, скептичен сотрудник одного из операторов. Принцип, который отстаивает ФАС, – «в роуминге как дома» – предполагает, что тарифы в роуминге не должны заметно отличаться от цен на связь в стране временного пребывания абонента (местную, если звонок внутри города, или междугородную). Этот принцип пытается внедрить международная рабочая группа, состоящая из представителей антимонопольных ведомств стран единого экономического пространства (кроме России в него входят Белоруссия, Казахстан и Армения), других государств СНГ и Турции, напомнил Рутенберг. Если этот принцип начнет работать, то российские операторы должны будут снизить цены на голосовую связь в роуминге в 3–5 раз, на sms – до 10 раз, на передачу данных – до 40 раз, считает ФАС. До этого ФАС никогда не вмешивалась в тарифообразование сотовых операторов напрямую, ограничиваясь лишь проверками, предупреждениями и штрафами. В 2010 г. антимонопольная служба возбудила дело против МТС, «Вымпелкома» и «Мегафона», подозревая их в завышении цен на роуминг за рубежом. Это произошло вскоре после того, как на дороговизну мобильной связи за рубежом обратил внимание Владимир Путин, тогда занимавший пост премьер-министра. История кончилась тем, что операторы – добровольно, как они сами утверждали, – снизили цены на разговоры в роуминге в 1,5–2 раза, на sms-сообщения – в 3 раза, а на мобильный интернет-доступ – в 2–4 раза. ФАС все равно оштрафовала трех операторов, но на скромную по меркам их выручки сумму – 38,1 млн руб. Если операторам удастся договориться о снижении межоператорских тарифов с их партнерами – сотовыми компаниями Белоруссии и Казахстана, то звонки для российских абонентов в этих странах станут в 15–50 раз дешевле (см. врез). На доходах российских операторов, правда, это почти не отразится: их роуминговая выручка от абонентов, которые едут в страны СНГ, составляет не более 10% всех их доходов от международного роуминга, считает гендиректор информационно-аналитического агентства Telecom Daily Денис Кусков. В свою очередь международный роуминг приносит операторам 2–7% общей российской выручки (в зависимости от компании). Представитель минэкономики Белоруссии Виктор Евтухов сказал «Ведомостям», что ведомство изучает возможность регулирования роуминговых цен операторов совместно с антимонопольными органами стран Евразийского экономического союза и с Евразийской экономической комиссией. Представители антимонопольного агентства Казахстана и комиссии по защите экономической конкуренции Армении не ответили на запросы, без ответа остались и обращения в сотовые компании Kcell (Казахстан) и Velcom (Белоруссия).

 

http://telecom.arka.am/ru/news/telecom/rouming_v_stranakh_sng_mozhet_podeshevet/

 

Beeline launches technical support mobile app

Telecompaper.com  29.05.2015

 

VimpelCom (the Beeline brand) has introduced a new mobile application for its technical support staff. Several thousand staff members have started using the new form of access to resolve IT infrastructure and mobile network incidents, reducing problem solving time three-fold.

 

Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom, working under the Beeline brand, has introduced a new mobile application for its technical support staff. Several thousand staff members have started using the new form of access to resolve IT infrastructure and mobile network incidents, reducing problem solving time three-fold. App versions for Android and iOS platforms have been launched. They can be used with both smartphones and tablets. The project was carried out in cooperation with Atrinity, controlled by the Asteros group.

 

http://www.telecompaper.com/news/beeline-launches-technical-support-mobile-app—1084483

 

Beeline and Unibank expand cooperation

Аrminfo.am  29.05.2015

 

Beeline and Unibank have announced the expansion of cooperation on consumer lending. Within the program, Unibank pavilions were placed in Beeline sales and service offices. The bank’s specially trained professionals receive applications on consumer loans to purchase phones, smartphones, tablets and other devices at Beeline offices.

 

Beeline press-office has informed ArmInfo that Beeline and Unibank CJSC announce the expansion of cooperation on consumer lending. Within the program, Unibank pavilions were placed in Beeline sales and service offices. The bank’s specially trained professionals receive applications on consumer loans to purchase phones, smartphones, tablets and other devices at Beeline offices. Unibank pavilions are available in 7 Beeline sales and services offices in Yerevan, Artashat, Sevan and Etchmiadzin. Beeline subscribers can get up AMD30thousand-AMD1mln loan in Unibank pavilions. «The program jointly held with Unibank is in line with Beeline’s «Simple and Convenient for Customers» strategy. Now, getting a loan will be simplified for our customers. The qualified specialists of the bank will help do it on the spot saving subscribers’ time. This initiative is already widely spread allowing to imply further expansion of the bank’s pavilions in our offices», said Beeline Armenia CEO Andrey Pyatakhin. «Customer-oriented approach is Unibank’s pledge for long-term success in consumer lending. Long-term cooperation with Beeline in Armenia and successful cooperation as well as the bank’s pavilions at the sales offices allowed facilitating the process of loan lending to consumers. The loan is approved by Unibank in literally a minute. We continue developing cooperation and will place new pavilions in Yerevan, Artashat and Echmiadzin Beeline offices in already June», said Unibank CJSC Deputy Chairman of Board, Director for Sales and Retail Business Gurgen Ghukasyan. Through Unibank pavilions, 10% of overall number of devices sold on credit were sold out at Beeline sales and services centers. To note, ArmenTel CJSC (Beeline brand) is a member of VimpelCom Group. VimpelCom is one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators providing voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Canada. VimpelCom provides services under the «Beeline», «Kyivstar», «Wind», «Infostrada» «Mobilink», «Leo», «banglalink», «Telecel», and «Djezzy» brands. In Q3 2014, the total number of Beeline subscribers in Armenia exceeded 800 thsd, and the number of broadband Internet subscribers was 150 thsd.

 

http://www.arminfo.am/index.cfm?objectid=42E91230-05D2-11E5-A4B70EB7C0D21663

 

Details of TeliaSonera Offshore Scandal Revealed: Aliyev Clan Stole USD600 mln from Azerbaijanis

Groong.com  29.05.2015

 

A company close to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his clan likely walked off with more than USD1 bln in a takeover of his country’s stake in Azercell Telecom. The process was aided by a subsidiary of TeliaSonera, which acted against its own interest to allow the deal to happen, according to the findings documented by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). TeliaSonera, which owns a majority share of Azercell, turned down dividends in order to placate the government of Azerbaijan, the OCCRP reports.

 

DETAILS OF TELIASONERA OFFSHORE SCANDAL REVEALED: ALIYEV CLAN STOLE US$ 600 MILLION FROM AZERBAIJANIS 13:16 29/05/2015 >> LAW Taxpayers in Azerbaijan lost more than US$ 600 million in a deal that made no sense for all involved except for a murky offshore deeply connected to President Ilham Aliyev. A company close to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his clan likely walked off with more than US$ 1 billion in a takeover of his country’s stake in Azercell Telecom, the largest mobile operator in the country. The process was aided by a subsidiary of TeliaSonera, the Swedish-Finnish telecom giant, which acted against its own interest to allow the deal to happen, according to thefindings documented by the journalists from The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The report is published on OCCRP website. According to the report, TeliaSonera, which owns a majority share of Azercell, turned down dividends in order to placate the government of Azerbaijan. In exchange, Azercell would receive all required regulatory approvals and licenses necessary to operate in Azerbaijan, according to internal documents. The deal was considered to be possibly the largest bribery in Swedish history. Einar Hackner, an experienced auditor and professor emeritus in business administration at Mid Sweden University who reviewed the reporters’ findings, told OCCRP reporters the government assets have likely been stolen. After TeliaSonera was revealed to have paid bribes to a member of the ruling family of Uzbekistan, new CEO, Johan Dennelind, was hired. When asked directly whether TeliaSonera bribed the Aliyev regime, Dennelind, said, «We cannot prove it. But we cannot rule it out.» OCCRP says Azercell was established in January 1996 as a joint venture between the Azerbaijani government and Turkcell, a leading mobile phone operator of Turkey. The Azerbaijani government owned 51 percent of the new mobile carrier. Faced with the difficulties of operating in a country considered among the most corrupt in the world, Turkcell later that year brought in a new partner: the Istanbul-based Cenay Insaat (Cenay Construction), which is part of a group of related companies known as the Cenay Group. The Group is owned by the Guldamla family who had established a good relationship with Azerbaijan’s ex- president Heydar Aliyev, the father of the current president Ilham Aliyev. The relationship continued after Heydar Aliyev’s death in 2003, and Cenay officials would sometimes appear at special occasions with the new president. Their financial success is largely due to their various businesses in Azerbaijan, which include fiber optics, oil and natural gas. According to the report, together they formed an Istanbul-based holding company called Azertel and Turkcell moved its ownership share of Azercell into this new company. Azertel, through a recapitalization, later increased its stake in Azercell to 64.3 percent while the government’s stake decreased to 35.7 percent. In 2000, Turkcell merged most of its international holdings, including Azertel, with assets from the Finnish telecom operator Sonera into a Dutch-based company called Fintur Holdings. Turkcell received a minority stake in the new company. Sonera merged two years later with the Swedish operator Telia to become TeliaSonera. Through its majority in Fintur, TeliaSonera gained management control over Azercell. From the beginning Azercell profits and taxes were a major contributor to Azerbaijan’s state budget. But in 2008, when the company started to really earn big profits, the state’s share was quietly shifted to companies linked to the clan of the President Aliyev. At the end of 2003, Azercell had just reached the 1 million subscriber mark. The company was the second biggest taxpayer after SOCAR, the state oil company, and had just distributed profits of US$ 31.5 million. In 2004, Farhad Aliyev, then the Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan, told Erdal Durukan, the CEO of TeliaSonera’s Dutch holding company, of a plan to privatize the government shares in Azercell. Durukan presented a privatization plan to his board of directors. TeliaSonera planned to increase its indirect ownership in Azercell from 51 to 75 percent, giving it full management control of the company. While the government of Azerbaijan valued the company at between US$ 400 and 550 million, TeliaSonera’s valuation was higher — between US$ 600 and 700 million. During the negotiations, the maximum cost TeliaSonera was willing to pay was US$ 200 million, according to the reporters’ findings. But six months later, in September 2004, a new player entered the game. With no explanation, the government of Azerbaijan informed TeliaSonera that the Swedish-Finnish telecom could not privatize Azercell by itself. Instead, Cenay Insaat and a new government-approved local partner would privatize the share. TeliaSonera would have to waive its right to buy the government shares and agree to finance Cenay Insaat and the new local partner with a US$ 100 million loan. At no point did the executives explain the sudden shift of strategy or even reveal the true identity of the local partner, the journalists say. In exchange, the mysterious local partner guaranteed it would get all necessary licenses and regulatory approvals and that the government would pass laws liberalizing the telecom industry. «Such a sweeping commitment could only be delivered by the government itself or a highly placed government official,» the authors of the report conclude. According to the findings, TeliaSonera wanted to maintain corporate control over Azercell’s holding company, and appoint all board members. The local partner would have the right to nominate one board observer. But the local partner wanted more management control, something TeliaSonera was unwilling to concede. The pushback by TeliaSonera was followed by the government shelving the proposed sale of the state stake without giving any reason for the change in plans. Azercell suddenly found itself under pressure from state regulatory bodies, and tax authorities — a familiar practice for corrupt regimes. The scheme took a new twist in the spring of 2005, when a new and equally murky local partner put privatization back on the agenda. Azercell’s shares would now to be shifted to a company, Cenay Iletisim (Cenay Communications), established by two of Cenay Insaat’s founders. Less than a month later, Cenay sold its interest in Cenay Iletisim to two Panamanian shell companies that had been newly incorporated. The authors of the report managed to reveal the details of this «Trojan horse» transaction, which indicate Azerbaijan’s ruling clan was involved. The Aliyevs had registered most of the clan’s offshore companies in Panama. The deal was registered by the agent, Morgan y Morgan, normally used by the clan. Cenay Iletisim was represented by long-time Aliyev clan proxy Olivier Mestelan, a Swiss lawyer who was the signatory of other companies set up by the clan. The director of the company is Ahmet Cemhan Bilge, a Turk whose construction company is the main contractor for Aliyev clan. The reporters highlight that the deal made no commercial sense. The new Panamanian controlled partners bought Cenay Iletisim (and thus 6.5 percent of Azercell) for just US$ 6.5 million — a substantial discount to market value. When a reporter from OCCRP asked Cenay Group’s Ugur Uzpeder if they were forced to sell their share for so little, he answered that he could not say anything. In mid-December 2005, TeliaSonera was given the same choice by the government that it had fought a year earlier. Azertel as the holding company had to come up with US$ 180 million to buy the government’s share. For the privatization to work like the government wanted it to, TeliaSonera and Cenay Insaat would have to willfully refuse their rights to participate in the recapitalization which gave them the advantage to increase their stake in Azercell during the privatization. Cenay Iletisim, the company close to the President, would gain a much bigger slice of the ultimate pie, as the reporters have it. TeliaSonera had no other choice. It approved the deal because otherwise the government would find another client. After the privatization Cenay Iletisim would indirectly own 42 percent of Azercell (up from 6.5 percent), TeliaSonera 51 percent (down from 80 percent) and Cenay Insaat 6.5 percent. To add insult to injury, TeliaSonera and Turkcell were expected to loan Cenay Iletisim the money it needed to buy the shares. On Feb. 12, 2008, TeliaSonera announced that Azertel had reached an agreement to purchase the Azerbaijan government’s 35.7 percent stake in Azercell. The deal closed April 1, 2008. «While the deal was a bad one for TeliaSonera and its partners, it was and an even bigger disaster for the people of Azerbaijan. First, the purchase price set by the government was ludicrously low. In April 2008 when the government’s stake in Azercell was finally sold to Azertel, Azercell was worth US$ 2.2 billion. That means that the state’s interest — according to TeliaSonera itself — was worth US$ 785 million, and not the meager US$ 180 million the government sold it for,» the report reads. Hackner, the business professor, adds that the mysterious purchasers did not have to invest any of their own resources. «It did not cost them a cent. But it did cost people of Azerbaijan. They lost US$ 600 million in the process,» he said. Yet the reporters revealed that people of Azerbaijan did not even receive all of the US$ 180 million. The transaction was a win-win deal for those closely connected to the Azerbaijani ruling elite. According to the report, Cenay Iletisim would have the right to sell their 42 percent stake back to TeliaSonera at a fair value at some future date — potentially a US$ 1 billion transfer of wealth. When this all happened, Azercell initially expected to receive permission to use the newest technology, at the time a 3G license. One of its competitors, owned by the President’s clan, had a 3G license. Three-years later, a license finally appeared in late 2011, and like previous licensing deals, it came in the wake of another hidden reshuffling of Azertel’s ownership. In November, 2011, TeliaSonera, Cenay Insaat and Cenay Iletisim gathered for their annual general meeting and approved the results of the fiscal year, but the Board declined to distribute dividends for unknown reasons. A month later, the Board again met and did an about face on distributing dividends. But the shareholder that ultimately received 6.5 percent of the dividends was not Cenay Insaat, but a previously unknown shell company, FA Invest Malta, which has been incorporated just five weeks earlier and was represented by Hamzayev Rashad Firidunoglu. Coincidentally, one of the president’s personal security guards in the Special State Guard Service has the same name. Only after this did Azercell finally receive its long-awaited 3G license, and shortly thereafter, a 4G license, the authors of the report write. Hackner, an experienced auditor, told the investigative journalists that everyone who participated had to know this new company was in fact controlled by someone very powerful. «I find it impossible that TeliaSonera does not know. The worst thing to do is to sweep something under the carpet and hope it does not show up,» said Hackner.

 

http://www.groong.com/news/msg541633.html