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    MTS COMPANY REJECTS RUMOUR OF MERGER WITH BRITISH VODAFONE GROUP

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 28. /RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT YELENA OREKHOVA/ -- The joint-stock company Mobile Telesystems /MTS/ has no information on alleged on-going negotiations on a merger with the British Vodafone Group.

    "We have no such information", was the curt reply of Pavel Nefedov, head of the MTS public relations sector. He was commenting on media reports on Vodafone Group's intention to buy the MTS controlling interest from the AFK System.

    Nefedov also rejected the speculations that the rumour is intentionally designed to increase the market value of the two companies' shares.

    Last week MTS's shares, in trade at the New York stock exchange, became almost 15 percent costlier due to this rumour.

    MTS is the largest operator of the cellular communication system in Russia and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, servicing over 15 active users. The MTS license portfolio includes the majority of regions in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The MTS company's strategic share-holders -- Russian holding AFK System and German operator T-Mobile - own, respectively, 51 and 25 percent of MTS's shares.

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