VimpelCom net profit rises 28.5% in 1H06, to $345.2 mln

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MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) -- VimpelCom [RTS: VIMP] said Friday its net profit in the first half of the year increased 28.5% on U.S. GAAP year-on-year, to $345.2 million.

Net earnings per share in the reporting period totaled $6.77, compared with $5.25 a year earlier.

Operating revenue of Russia's second-largest cell phone operator rose 46%, to $2.058 billion.

VimpelCom operates in 78 regions in Russia under the Beeline trademark, and also in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Georgia.

VimpelCom is listed on the Russian Industrial Leaders Index (RUXX) - a composite economic index of 20 Russian companies with financial instruments (shares and depository receipts) placed on bourses, including the New York Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and AMEX.

The company had faced a demand for $70.5 mln in back taxes for 2003-2004 from Russia's tax authorities.

VimpelCom said in July it would contest the results of the tax authorities' checks for 2003-2004. The company said its tax records showed it overpaid for 2003 and 2004 by $29.44 mln, and that it sent its claim to the tax authorities.

The authorities accepted the company's claim, and informed VimpelCom it would refund $29.4 mln.

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