Russia Plans to Acquire Stake in Sistema’s Indian Phone Company

The Russian state plans to use part of India’s debt repayments to buy a stake of about 20 percent in billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov’s Indian mobile-phone unit.

Russia will allocate as much as 23.73 billion rubles ($707 million) to purchase the stake, said an official at the Finance Ministry’s press service who declined to be identified. The official cited Minister Alexei Kudrin speaking at the lower house of parliament yesterday. The funds come from repayments of India’s debt to Russia, which must be spent in India, the official said.

Yevtushenkov’s Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd. is licensed to operate in all of India’s 22 regulatory regions, which have a combined population of more than 1 billion. The businessman’s holding company AFK Sistema, which owns 74 percent of Shyam, also controls Moscow-based OAO Mobile TeleSystems, which has almost 100 million subscribers, making it the biggest operator in Eastern Europe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Ermakova in Moscow at mermakova@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at lklemming@bloomberg.net

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