MegaFon Will Not Enter International Finance Markets Before 2004

Russian mobile operator MegaFon, which has a nationwide network, will not enter international financial markets until 2004 at the earliest, according to the company's general director, Yuri Pavlenko.

According to Pavlenko, there is no point in making an initial issue of shares on the US or British stock markets in 2003 because international markets have still not recovered from several years of falling share prices. Consequently, MegaFon shares could not be priced according to their true value. The company plans to publish its accounts according to international accounting standards in the middle of 2004, and only after this will it be able to enter international markets. Pavlenko said that this would not necessarily involve an initial share issue, but could be a bond issue.

MegaFon operates a nationwide mobile network on the GSM 900/1800 standard. It was formed in May 2002 as a result of the renaming and structural and legal reorganisation of North-West GSM and its merger with a number of regional mobile operators. MegaFon's main shareholders are Telekominvest, TsT Mobile, Sonera (Finland) and Telia (Sweden). MegaFon licenses cover 100% of Russia's territory. It currently has over 2.4 million subscribers.

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