VimpelCom Ltd. said it had completed a $65-million deal to buy Millicom Holding Laos B.V, which owns 78% of the Laotian mobile operator Millicom Lao Co., as part of its Southeast Asian expansion plan.
VimpelCom, one of Russia's top three mobile operators, will pay $23 million to settle its debts, including to shareholders and for the internal corporate debt. The remaining 22%-share in Millicom Lao Co. belongs to the government of Laos.
"The telecommunications market of Southeast Asia has a vast potential and we certainly have the ability to make the most of the opportunities this region offers," said Alexander Izosimov, head of VimpelCom Ltd., which unites the Russian VimpelCom and Ukrainian Kyivstar operators.
VimpelCom signed the deal to buy 78% in Millicom Lao Co. in September 2009 but the agreement remained incomplete until the Laotian government approved the deal.
Laos is the third country in Southeast Asia where VimpelCom now has a share. In May 2009, the mobile operator acquired a 90% stake in the Cambodian company Sotelco, and in July it began operating in Vietnam.
MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti)