RealTime IT News

Telia Takes Share in Russian IT, Telecoms Group

North European telecoms operator Telia has taken a stake in First National Holding/Telecominvest, the third largest telecoms and IT group in Russia.

Telia will be paying 700 million SEK ($81.7 million) for a 29.5 per cent share in the holding company First National Holding, the majority shareholder in Telecominvest.

Hans E. Golteus, executive vice president of Telia, said that with the deal Telia had a unique opportunity to break new ground in the Russian market, expanding beyond St. Petersburg and north-west Russia where Telecominvest currently operates.

"The Telia holding in Telecominvest will lay the groundwork for the future, enabling the company to establish and run operations in attractive areas in European Russia, a neighboring market with a population in excess of 100 million," said Golteus, adding that this was potentially the most important growth market in Europe over the next few decades.

Telia is partnered by Germany's Commerzbank in its shareholding of Telecominvest. Other shareholders are St Petersburg telephone company PTN and the long distance operator SPMMT.

With the acquisition, Telia will be able to participate in the introduction and expansion of new services, especially mobile and Internet services.

Telecominvest already runs North-West GSM, the second largest cellular phone operator in Russia. Telia and Telecominvest have cooperated in the development of North-West GSM for several years, and this cooperation has led to Telia's increased participation in the parent company.

Telecominvest has around 30 subsidiaries and associated companies, and has plans to expand its operations to other parts of the country.