Sberbank Grants Vimpelcom-Region USD 70 Million Loan

Sberbank and the mobile phone operator Vimpelcom-Region (which operates under the trademark Bee Line GSM) have signed an agreement to open a credit line with a limit of USD 70 million for five years. According to an announcement yesterday by the bank's press service, the loan will be used for Vimpelcom-Region's regional development. The credit line is the third to be made available by Sberbank to the Vimpelcom group. Previous loans were allocated for the development of the company's mobile phone networks in the Moscow licensing region.

Vimpelcom-Region is a subsidiary of Moscow mobile phone operator Vimpelcom (Bee Line). Vimpelcom's main shareholders are the top management of Alfa-Group and the Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor. In autumn 2002, Vimpelcom-Region received a license to operate in the north-west licensing region, which includes St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, on the GSM-1800 standard. The company intends to roll out its network and begin operating in St. Petersburg in the first half of 2003.

The Joint-Stock Commercial Savings Bank of the Russian Federation (Sberbank) was registered on June 20, 1991. The bank's founder and main shareholder is the Russian Central Bank (with over 60% of the bank's share capital). The bank has over 230 thousand individual and corporate shareholders.

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