Russian regulator calls for time to settle Telenor dispute

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service has called on the Moscow Arbitration Court to postpone a hearing on its lawsuit against Norwegian telco Telenor’s attempt to increase its stake in service provider VimpelCom.

The regulator’s director Igor Artemyev wants the hearing to be postponed by a month pending attempts to settle the dispute amicably. The antimonopoly service applied in April to the court to annul Telenor’s agreement to increase its voting stake in VimpelCom from 25.01% to 36.36% by acquiring Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris’ stake for a reported US$374 million (€290 million). The court then imposed a number of injunctions on VimpelCom and forced the company to delay payment of its dividend for 2011.

Telenor has since increased its stake to 42.95%.