Monthly Archives: March 2004

Court Rejects MegaFon’s Appeal Against Alfa Voting Rights

Moscow Arbitration Court Wednesday rejected an appeal by mobile phone operator OAO MegaFon (MGF.YY) against a judgement regarding its shareholder Alfa Group, Prime-Tass news agency reported.

The court upheld an earlier decision Dec. 4, forbidding MegaFon from blocking Alfa’s voting rights in the company. Alfa holds a 25.1% stake in MegaFon.

Alfa took the phone operator to court after MegaFon refused to convene an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting called by Alfa to elect a new board of directors.

Alfa bought the stake in MegaFon in August, causing a conflict of interest with other shareholders because Alfa is also a core shareholder in MegaFon’s direct competitor OAO Vimpel Communications (VIP).

Numerous court cases followed, with shareholders suing and countersuing each other in Russia as well as in Stockholm, where MegaFon’s majority shareholder TeliaSonera A/B (TLSN) is based, and in different offshore zones.

Company Web site: http://www.megafon.ru

Anna Ivanova-Galitsina
Dow Jones Newswires; 7095-974-8055; anna.galitsina@dowjones.com 

Dow Jones Newswires

Finnish leaders surprised by TeliaSonera management dispute

 

Finland’s Minister for Transport and Communications Leena Luhtanen (SDP) (see the picture) says that Tapio Hintikka, who resigned as Chairman of the Board of the telecommunications service provider TeliaSonera late on Sunday, had acted according to rules that had been agreed upon in connection with the merger of Sweden’s Telia and Finland’s Sonera. Both states own large numbers of the company’s shares.
Hintikka blamed his problems on the board on “Swedish politics”, while Swedish members on the TeliaSonera board faulted what they saw as Hintikka’s autocratic management style.
Luhtanen said that Hintikka had the confidence of the Finnish state. However, she carefully avoided accusing Sweden of any underhanded action.
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) was unwilling to comment on the issue. He noted that quoted companies need to follow the agreements made with shareholders. He also noted that on Friday the TeliaSonera Board will choose a provisional chair from its midst. Final decisions will be made by the company’s general meeting at the end of April.

“I will not go so far as to say that any agreements had been violated, but I emphasise that both countries approved the unanimous proposal of the appointment committee headed by Hintikka (on the members of the company’s Board). Our policy line has been consistent in this: the shareholder agreement must be adhered to”, Leena Luhtanen said.
She added that she does not know the details of the discussions held between Hintikka and the Swedes, but emphasised that Hintikka enjoys Finland’s confidence, and that the proposal of the appointment committee was unanimous, his decision to resign came as a surprise.
As she sees it, the common aim has been to increase international know-how within TeliaSonera, as the company seeks to enhance its position on international markets.

The shareholders’ agreement regulating the terms of Finnish and Swedish state ownership covers the composition of the Board of Directors of TeliaSonera until 2005. Under the agreement, Hintikka was to serve as chairman, while four of the company’s 12 seats on the board were reserved for Finns, and four for Swedes.
Hintikka says that his resignation was prompted by disagreements on the company’s ventures into the global market. He would have wanted to replace one Finn and one Swede on the board with a major international figure. However, he withdrew his proposal after opposition from the Swedish side.

The dispute over Hintikka is not the first of its kind in TeliaSonera. When the first discussions were held on the merger of Sonera and Telia a few years ago, the Swedes wanted to name Telia CEO Anders Igel to the Board as an independent member. Finland objected to what it saw as a violation of the shareholders’ agreement, and Igel refused to accept the post.
Representatives of the Finnish and Swedish personnel disagreed on how staff should be represented on the board, which includes three Swedish, and just one Finnish personnel representative.

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter wrote on Tuesday that Swedish members of the Board of TeliaSonera had complained to the Swedish government on the management style of Tapio Hintikka.
For instance, one of the members of the board, former Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Göran Persson.
According to Dagens Nyheter the members of the Board had grumbled that Sweden had not acted on complaints about the chairman – reportedly because Sweden did not want to upset the Finnish owners.
In the newspaper’s view, the core of the problem was not a Finnish-Swedish conflict, but rather the personal characteristics of Tapio Hintikka himself.

Helsingin Sanomat

TeliaSonera chairman ousted

TeliaSonera was formed in late 2002 as a merger between Finland’s Sonera and Sweden’s Telia. The Swedish government still owns 45.3 per cent of the combined company and the Finnish government has a 19 per cent stake.


The row kicked off when Hintikka’s proposed replacement for board member Ingvar Carlsson, a former Swedish prime minister, was rejected by Swedish board members and the Swedish government.

Hintikka told the Financial Times: “I thought TeliaSonera should act purely from a business point of view. but in this nomination process I’ve become involved in Swedish political games and I don’t like it.”

He accused the Swedish government of undermining Finnish influence on the company and of viewing it as a purely Swedish enterprise, according to Finnish newswires.

The company said it will appoint another Finn to replace Hintikka on Friday. The Swedish government said he had resigned because he had lost the confidence of the board.

TheRegister

TeliaSonera’s Finnish Chairman resigns unexpectedly

Disagreements with Swedish state behind Hintikka’s decision

 In a dramatic move on Monday, Tapio Hintikka announced that he will resign from his position as Chairman of the Board at telecoms operator TeliaSonera. The resignation took effect immediately.

    According to Hintikka, the reasons for his resignation were disagreements on the composition of the Board, as well as the fact that representatives of TeliaSonera’s largest shareholder, the Swedish state, had pressured him to leave his post. 

    “I thought I was in business, but I wound up in Swedish politics”, Hintikka stated.

Hintikka made up his mind when the Swedish state decided to reject his proposal for the composition of the new TeliaSonera Board. Hintikka received word of the Swedish state’s view on Friday. 

    Hintikka had proposed someone new for the Board with considerable international experience. According to Hintikka, this candidate was at first acceptable to the Swedish side, but they later informed him that the Swedish quota of four Board members could not be touched, so the new member would decrease the number of Finnish members. 

    In a compromise proposal the international candidate was dropped off the list, but Hintikka says even this proposal was ultimately rejected by the Swedish state. However, the Swedish Ministry of Employment, Industry and Communications denied this claim on Monday.

The Swedish members of the TeliaSonera Board maintain that Hintikka’s autocratic management style and focus on even the smallest details had created difficulties within the Board for a long time. 

    Berith Westman, the representative of Swedish white-collar employees on the Board, commented that Hintikka’s resignation was his smartest decision during his entire chairmanship. 

    The representative of Swedish service employees, Elof Isaksson, explained that Hintikka’s “macho management style” was behind the situation. 

    The Vice Chairman of the TeliaSonera Board, Carl Bennet, said that a new Finnish Chairman will hopefully be elected on Friday. 

    According to Bennet, the new Chairman could be one of the existing Finnish Board members: Professor of Finance Eva Liljeblom, Amer President and CEO Roger Talermo, or former Rettig President and CEO Tom von Weymarn . 

    Hintikka had chaired the Board ever since the merger of Telia and Sonera in 2002. He was due to continue as Chairman until 2005.

Helsingin Sanomat

TeliaSonera dominates broadband market

TeliaSonera dominates the market for broadband in Sweden with a 45% share of the market, according to a survey by Stelacon. Bredbandsbolaget and Bostream both have 10% share of the market, while ComHem has 7%. Tele2/Kabelvision has 6%, while Glocalnet, Spray and UPC all have a 2% share of the market.

Svenska Dagbladet

Sweden Government: TeliaSonera Chairman Left Due Confidence Issues

Leif Pagrotsky, the Swedish Minister of Trade and Industry, Monday said he and his Finnish counterparthad agreed to appoint a Finn as chairman of the board at telecoms operator TeliaSonera.

TeliaSonera’s chairman Tapio Hintikka resigned Monday after what Hintikka said was a dispute with the Swedish government over the addition of a new board member.

Pagrotsky’s statement only said that “a board must be able to work effectively and in confidence. I respect that Tapio Hintikka has decided to leave as a consequence of a confidence gap on the board.”

There are three Finns already on the board and the new chairman is thought likely to come from among them. TeliaSonera is owned 45.3% by the Swedish government and 19.1% by the Finnish state.

The two governments agreed on the board’s composition after a merger of Telia and Sonera in 2002. The agreement runs until the annual general meeting in 2005.

An extraordinary board meeting will be held on Friday to elect the new chairman.

Company Web site: http://www.teliasonera.com 

Magnus Hansson
Dow Jones Newswires; 46 8 545 130 91;
magnus.hansson@dowjones.com 

Dow Jones Newswire

Ms Leena Luhtanen, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland, on the resignation of Chairman Hintikka

Mr Tapio Hintikka, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TeliaSonera AB, has submitted his resignation.

In accordance with the shareholders’ agreement between the states of Finland and Sweden, Finland has supported Chairman Hintikka in his measures to develop the company and increase its value. He has made a personal decision to resign. I want to express my regret at his resignation.

A new Chairman of the Board of Directors will be elected as soon as possible.

www.valtioneuvosto.fi

TeliaSonera Chairman Quits

STOCKHOLM — Tapio Hintikka has informed that he with immediate effect resigns as member and chairman of the board of directors of TeliaSonera AB.

Tapio Hintikka has been chairman of TeliaSonera since the combination between Telia and Sonera in December 2002. He was previously the chairman of Sonera.

The board of TeliaSonera will hold an extra meeting to elect a new chairman. Until then the vice chairman of TeliaSonera Carl Bennet, will hold the position as chairman.

LightReading.com

Atpiginęs internetą, „Lietuvos telekomas“ sulaukė daug vartotojų

AB „Lietuvos telekomas“ šių metų vasarį pristatytas itin pigus „Interneto“ planas jau pritraukė daugiau nei 10 tūkst. vartotojų. Šis privatiems vartotojams, besinaudojantiems interneto komutuojama linija paslauga „Atviras takas“, skirtas planas leidžia už 10 litų internetu naudotis 30 valandų per mėnesį.
Pasak bendrovės Paslaugų plėtros departamento Duomenų ir interneto prieigos sektoriaus direktorės Lauros Vaitkuvienės, per dieną šios paslaugos vartotojų vidutiniškai padaugėja šimtu ir daugiau naujų klientų. „Tikėjomės, kad pigaus interneto planas turės pasisekimą, tačiau esami rodikliai gerokai viršija lūkesčius”, – džiaugėsi L.Vaitkuvienė.
Privatiems vartotojams patrauklų interneto planą AB „Lietuvos telekomas“ pasiūlė, norėdamas paskatinti Lietuvos gyventojus namuose naudotis interneto paslaugomis.
„Pigus interneto planas sudaro vartotojams puikią galimybę pradėti pažintį su internetu”, – tikino Paslaugų plėtros departamento Duomenų ir interneto prieigos sektoriaus direktorė L. Vaitkuvienė.
„Lietuvos telekomas“ vienintelis Baltijos šalyse savo interneto vartotojams siūlo tokį patrauklų mokėjimo planą.
2003 m. pabaigoje „Lietuvos telekomas“ turėjo per 21 tūkst. privačių „Atviro tako“ paslaugos vartotojų, kurie per mėnesį internetu iš viso naudojosi daugiau nei 166 tūkst. valandų. Vidutiniškai vienas privatus vartotojas „Atviro tako“ paslauga naudojosi beveik 8 valandas per mėnesį.
Rosvaldas Gorbačiovas,
Atstovas spaudai,
(8~5) 236 75 37