Russian telecoms group Altimo is open to solutions in disputes with TeliaSonera and Norway’s Telenor that could involve asset swaps or mergers, the company was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Altimo, part of the Alfa Group business of billionaire Mikhail Fridman, has fought Telenor for control of Kyivstar, the Ukrainian market leader, and of Russian number two mobile operator, U.S.-listed Vimpelcom.
TeliaSonera holds a 37.3 percent stake in Turkcell of Turkey and a 43.7 percent stake in Russian mobile operator MegaFon. Altimo has 13.2 percent of Turkcell and 25.1 percent of MegaFon.
Altimo’s chief financial officer, Teijo Pankko, speaking to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, gave details of what Altimo saw as possible deals.
The newspaper said Pankko agreed with the idea that its holdings could be combined with a merged TeliaSonera and Telenor.
He said this would be a good solution, even if for competition reasons the two Nordic firms would have to sell some of their holdings.
“I think that a combination which included Altimo would be easier to bring about than a deal just between TeliaSonera and Telenor,” he was quoted as adding.
The newspaper said Altimo was also interested in becoming a shareholder in TeliaSonera via the 45 percent stake in the Nordic group which Sweden intends to privatise.
“If such a possibility would be offered to us we would definitely look at that. There is a great deal of logic in combining our holdings in Megafon and Turkcell,” he said.
He said Altimo often had discussions with TeliaSonera, though he stressed that no negotiations were taking place.
The newspaper said Altimo was also open to forming a separate company with TeliaSonera which would own each firm’s stakes in Turkcell and Megafon.
“That would create a strong engine for investments in new markets and new projects,” he said.
Altimo has opened a court case against Cukurova for contract breaches and wants repayment of $1.35 billion in debt.
Under a previous deal, Altimo lent Cukurova $1.7 billion and took a 13.22 percent stake in the Turkish telecom company.
This blocked a TeliaSonera plan to raise its stake in Turkcell and the Nordic firm went to court against Cukurova.