The ownership of Ukraine’s former monopoly fixed line operator Ukrtelecom has been transferred to UA Telecominvest Ltd, a Cypriot holding firm which was founded in October 2012, the Kyiv Post reports. UA Telecominvest has obtained control of 92.79% of the share capital of Ukrtelecom by acquiring 100% of the charter capital of Epic Services Ukraine (ESU, a unit of Austrian investment fund Epic) from EPIC Telecom Invest Limited, based in Cyprus. A statement from ESU said the deal was signed on 16 January 2013, including a payment for ESU’s capital of UAH6.978 billion (USD847 million). Ukraine’s State Property Fund (SPF) told Interfax-Ukraine that it was unaware of the change of ownership of ESU, which was the sole bidder in the SPF’s privatisation tender, paying UAH10.575 billion for the 92.79% stake in March 2011. The state fund added that it would analyse privatisation documents in order to clarify investment liabilities, so as to agree on ownership rights transfers with the seller. The report adds that UA Telecominvest is registered to the same address in Nicosia, Cyprus, as EPIC Telecom Invest, suggesting that it is an inter-group ownership transfer, while adding that the previously reported charter capital of ESU was UAH4.804 billion as of 31 October 2012. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that at the time of the privatisation the SPF declared that ESU’s stake cannot be resold until the buyer fulfils investment obligations, and not without the SPF’s consent, while ESU indicated it will resell Ukrtelecom after a four-to-five-year development and restructuring programme.
Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov’s conglomerate SCM has refuted reports that it is linked to the new holding company of Ukrtelecom, reports ProIT. SCM’s press spokesperson Anna Terekhova stated that it is not associated with UA Telecominvest (Cyprus), which is not part of its group nor has any relation to SCM or its shareholders. SCM was recently rumoured to be negotiating a future takeover of Ukrtelecom with ESU’s Austrian owners, but subsequent statements from Epic indicated that neither the Ukrainian conglomerate nor any other potential telecoms investors were prepared to pay an asking price for the incumbent.