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Russia’s Sistema Studies Buying Stake in Latvia’s Lattelecom

Billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov’s holding company AFK Sistema is studying a potential acquisition of a stake in Latvia’s telecommunications operator Lattelecom SIA to expand beyond Russia.

“We are looking at this asset, while no decision is taken,” Moscow-based Sistema said today in an e-mailed response to questions. “As an investment company, we are evaluating different opportunities on the market, including this one.”

Latvian Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts said yesterday he received an expression of interest from Sistema for shares of Lattelecom, Riga-based Baltic Times reported. The state owns 51 percent of the company and Sweden’s TeliaSonera AB the rest.

Sistema controls Russia’s largest mobile operator OAO Mobile TeleSystems, which also operates in several ex-Soviet republics. Evtushenkov said in July he is seeking to expand his telecommunications business in Russia and abroad.

Lattelecom, which provides fixed-line and Internet services, had 2012 revenue equivalent to $286 million, according to its annual report.

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