VimpelCom shares fall after court decision

Shares in Russian service provider VimpelCom fell sharply following a ruling by a Moscow court blocking dividend payments by the operator as a result of a dispute involving the Russian Federal antitrust regulator and VimpelCom shareholder Telenor.

The antitrust regulator filed a suit in April to block Telenor’s move to increase its holding in VimpelCom to 36.36% by acquiring shares held by Egyptian entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris. The regulator maintained that this move broke rules on foreign ownership of strategic industries. Telenor has been in a long-running dispute with fellow shareholder Alfa Group over the future direction of VimpelCom.