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VimpelCom Rallies to Nine-Week High as Dividends Resume

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- VimpelCom Ltd. rose to the highest level in eight weeks in New York after Russia’s third-biggest mobile provider said it would resume dividend payments.

Shares of VimpelCom jumped 3.5 percent to $11.39 on the New York Stock Exchange, the highest closing price since Oct. 12, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Today’s advance, which drove gains in the Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of Russian companies traded in the U.S., extended VimpelCom’s surge in 2012 to 20 percent.

VimpelCom will pay a dividend of 80 cents per American depositary share, including 35 cents per ADS related to 2011 results, according to a PR Newswire statement issued today. The company, whose total dividend payout will reach $1.3 billion, is free to pay returns to investors after Russia agreed to withdraw legal claims against shareholder Telenor ASA over the Norwegian phone company boosting its stake.

“VimpelCom finally pleased minorities after missing interim dividends in May because of the corporate conflict,” Alexander Kazbegi, an analyst at Moscow-based Renaissance Capital who rates VimpelCom buy, said by phone. “The size of dividends is no surprise though,” he said, as the 80 cents was already “agreed in its dividend policy.”

Amsterdam-based VimpelCom, which canceled a 28-cent payment due May 30, had a gross dividend yield over the past 12 months of 3.98 percent, compared with 4.9 percent for OAO Mobile TeleSystems, Russia’s biggest mobile phone company, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporters on this story: Halia Pavliva in New York at hpavliva@bloomberg.net; Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net

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