Altimo

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Altimo
Type Private
Industry Private Equity
Predecessor(s) Alfa Telecom Limited
Founded 2004
Headquarters Moscow, Russia
London, United Kingdom
Key people Alexey Reznikovich, CEO
Total assets $35 billion
Website www.altimo.org and [1]

Altimo (Alfa Telecom International Mobile) is the telecoms investment arm of Russia's Alfa Group Consortium, controlled by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman. Altimo invests in Russia, the CIS, Turkey, and Beirut, Lebanon operating in the field of mobile and fixed-line communications.[1] Altimo was launched in London on 1 December 2005. Before then, since 2004, Altimo was known as Alfa Telecom. Altimo Holdings & Investments Ltd. is a British Virgin Islands company. A majority of its shares are owned by CTF Holdings, a Gibraltar limited liability company, whose sole shareholder is Crown Finance Foundation, a Liechtenstein foundation.[2]

Since its formation it has been involved in numerous conflicts with all its main partners in each of the four companies which form the backbone of its investments. These conflicts have resulted in what Judge Lynch of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York described as a "history of collusive and vexatious litigation".

History[edit]

In June 2005, a new management team led by Alexey Reznikovich developed a new strategy and vision for the company. This new vision was to look for investments outside the borders of the former Soviet Union and to become recognised as a leading emerging markets telecoms investor. A first step in this strategy, in November 2005, was the acquisition of a 13.2% stake in Turkcell, the largest Turkish mobile phone operator. At that time, the deal was the biggest cross-border purchase by a Russian company. This acquisition was the subject of considerable controversy at the time of execution since there was doubt whether the Turkish Group Cukurova was in violation of a shareholders agreement it had in place with TeliaSonera, the other major shareholder in Turkcell. Altimo was also engaged in a dispute with TeliaSonera over MegaFon at the time of this transaction. Other overseas investments have also enjoyed questionable success. Its recent efforts to expand into India met with a rebuff when the home ministry observed that Altimo and its parent company, Alpha, have a "tainted background".

Altimo has a track record of enhancing the performance of the companies in which it invests, such as the performance of VimpelCom, whose operating income before depreciation and amortisation tripled from 2004 to 2007.

The total market capitalization of Altimo's assets reached a high of over $30 billion, although this value had declined to somewhat less than $10 billion by December 2009. Together, Altimo's investee companies have more than 150 million mobile phone subscribers.

Altimo portrays itself as an example of Russia's emerging "new multinationals": more western-focused, open and transparent, with sound corporate governance and effective corporate management. However its actions suggest otherwise, as shown by the 19 November 2008 decision by the United States District Court, Southern District of New York which found them in contempt of court in their dispute with Telenor over the govnance of Kyivstar. Today, Altimo is prominent in the telecom markets of Eurasia, with its investee companies operating in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, Georgia and Turkey.

One of Altimo's stated aims is to participate in the globalisation and consolidation of telecom business by partnering with one of major Western telecom operators,however despite a number of public announcements there is little sign of this aim coming to fruition.

Assets[edit]

VimpelCom[edit]

Altimo holds 34% of VimpelCom's common shares and 6.4 million preferred shares, which give it 44% of voting shares.[3]

Founded in 1992, VimpelCom is now one of the largest wireless telecommunications service companies in Russia. It operates under the "Beeline" family of brand names, which are among the most recognised brands in Russia. In 1996, VimpelCom became the first Russian company to be listed on the NYSE. More than 10 years VimpelCom has the leading positions on Russian market in regard with professionalism and transparency. It was repeatedly recognized as a leader in the field of corporate governance and investor relations. In April 2007 Vimpelcom became one of 3 carriers to develop 3G network in Russia.

The company is expanding into other emerging markets; it is a mobile operator in Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia. The populations of the territories covered by the Vimpelcom's license portfolio is over 240 million.

In late 2007 Vimpelcom acquired the largest alternative fixed-line and broadband operator Golden Telecom. Thus Vimpelcom has become the largest telecommunication company in Russia and the CIS providing full spectrum of telecommunications services in almost all countries of the former USSR.

MegaFon[edit]

Altimo owns 25.1% of MegaFon, which is the third largest provider of wireless telecommunications services in Russia with nearly 32 million subscribers and 20% of market share in Russia. Its license portfolio covers 143 million people, or 100% of the population of Russia. MegaFon also provides its services in Tajikistan, where its daughter TT-Mobile is the fourth-placed mobile operator. Like Vimpelcom Megafon has also become one of 3 carriers which has got national 3G license.

Kyivstar[edit]

Altimo owns 43.5% of Kyivstar indirectly through Storm Company. Kyivstar is a provider of wireless telecommunications services in Ukraine with over 22 million subscribers. The company is also licensed to operate city, long-distance, and international phone networks. Additionally, Kyivstar holds licenses to build and maintain its own fixed-line networks and to organise data transmission networks.

Turkcell[edit]

Altimo owns 6.6% of Turkcell, which was the first company to introduce mobile communications in Turkey with its GSM services in 1994. Now it is the leading GSM operator in Turkey with over 32 million customers and a 60% market share.

The company also owns assets in Ukraine. Turkcell is the first Turkish company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), where its shares have been traded since July 11, 2000 along with trading on the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB).

Strategy[edit]

Altimo stated strategy is to invest in telecommunications companies that have the potential to become one of the top three providers in their home market.

As a financial investor, Altimo's stated strategy is not to hold majority stakes in its operators, preferring strong minority positions in those companies that do not have a controlling shareholder.

Altimo focuses on projects in the emerging telecoms markets of both Eurasia and Asia, and is attracted to countries that have large populations, low mobile penetration rates, a high GDP growth rate and low competition.

Altimo has also stated that is looking to establish a strategic partnership with a top tier European GSM operator, in order to participate in the consolidation of the telecoms industry. Altimo hopes that this would create a leading alliance in mobile telephony, benefiting from the operational experience of the European partner and the emerging market investment expertise of Altimo. So far there is little sign of such a partnership reaching fruition.

Management team[edit]

Chief Executive Officer[edit]

Alexey Reznikovich has been Altimo's CEO since June 2005. He has been a director of Alfa Group since 2002, with overall responsibility for business development and management supervision of Altimo's assets.

Alexey Reznikovich is also a director of OAO VimpelCom; Trading House Smirnov, the Russian drinks company; A1 Group, a Russian investment company; Perekriostok Group, a Russian supermarket chain; and Russian Technologies, a venture capital fund concentrating on the development of promising Russian technology.

From December 1998 to 2000, Alexey Reznikovich was a partner at McKinsey & Co. Following this, he founded EMAX, a new business venture to develop internet centres in Russia and was a director of EMAX and of CAFEMAX, an internet cafe chain, from February 2001.

Prior to his time at McKinsey, Alexey Reznikovich worked at Procter & Gamble in Italy and Transworld in the USA.

He graduated from the Economics Faculty of the Moscow State University and received his MBA from Georgetown University in the USA and INSEAD in France.

Senior Vice President[edit]

Kirill Babaev joined Alfa Group in 2004. He heads Altimo's international communications strategy and implementation.

Previously, Kirill Babaev was Head of Department for the Government of the Murmansk Region of Russia and a Vice President of MDM Group in Moscow.

Kirill Babaev graduated from the Moscow International Relations University in 2000. In 2005, he received his M.A. in Finance from the Academy of the National Economy of the Russian Federation Government, and in 2008, a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Russian State Humanities University.

Kirill Babaev has authored a number of books in linguistics, media relations and public affairs. He is Managing Editor of the Journal of Language Relationship, a scientific periodical published in Moscow.

Chief Financial Officer[edit]

Teijo Pankko joined Altimo in 2006. His responsibilities as Chief Financial Officer cover strategy and planning, finance, management reporting and accounting.

In 2005 Teijo Pankko was Deputy Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Financial Corporation Uralsib. Prior to that he worked at Alfa Bank as Deputy Chairman and Chief Financial Officer (2002–2005) and Head of Treasury (1998–2002).

Between 1997 and 1998 Teijo Pankko was Alfa Capital's Chief Financial Officer (1997–1998). Before that, Teijo Pankko was Chief Financial Officer of Lemminkainen Ltd (1995–1997).

Teijo graduated with Masters Degree in Economics from the Business School of Economics (Helsinki) in 1988. In 2002 he received Masters Degree in Finance from the Moscow Government Social University.

Senior Vice-President[edit]

Oleg Malis joined Altimo in 2005 as Senior Vice President in charge of Asset Management. Oleg was a Senior Vice-President and Director of Mergers and Acquisitions at Golden Telecom since 2000.

Prior to Golden Telecom, Oleg held various managerial positions in Corbina Telecom, a company he founded with his brother Alexander in 1993.

Oleg Malis graduated from the Ergonomics Faculty of the Moscow Aviation Technological Institute in 1993.

Others[edit]

Altimo's executive team also includes

International Advisory Board[edit]

Altimo's International Advisory Board (IAB), is a non-executive consultative group which advises the Altimo board and management on the strategic issues of the company's global development.

The IAB comprises the following international political and business leaders:

Sir Francis Richards, KCMG, CVO, DL, was Her Majesty's Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar from 2003 to 2006. He was previously Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham from 1998 to April 2003.

Douglas Lord Hurd serves as Vice Chairman of Hawkpoint Partners, the international corporate finance firm, and as Deputy Chairman of Coutts & Co. He served as British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1995.

Peter S. Watson is President and CEO of the Dwight Group and a Non Executive Director of the Fluor Corporation. He served as Chairman, President and CEO of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation from 2001-05. Prior to those appointments, Dr. Watson served as Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission and at the White House as Director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.

Sir Julian Horn-Smith retired as Deputy Chief Executive of Vodafone Group plc in August 2006, having served with Vodafone since 1984 and for a decade as a Board director, latterly from 2001-05 as Chief Operating Officer. He is a non executive director of Smiths Group plc and Lloyds TSB plc, and also Chairman of Sage Group plc.

Kurt Hellstroem retired as President and CEO of Ericsson in 2003, having served with the company since 1984. He is a board member of the Swedish Trade Council, European Institute of Japanese Studies, Bharti Tele-Ventures, Kineto Wireless, Sim2Travel, Spirent Communications, Far EasTone Telecommunications, VTI Technologies and Springfellow. His education includes a Master of Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and a Master of Management from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Jack Rosen is the Chief Executive of Rosen Partners LLC as well as the Chairman of American Jewish Congress and Chairman of the Council for World Jewry.Mr. Rosen is very active in government and political affairs. He is long time experience of working with former US President Clinton. Under President Clinton, Mr. Rosen was a Presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, as well as a member of the NASA Advisory Council. Mr. Rosen was a U.S. State Department delegate to the Organization of the American States.

Altimo Foundation[edit]

Source: altimofoundation.org

Purpose[edit]

The Altimo Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation created to act globally on Altimo's behalf in the fields of science, technology, education, and culture. The mission of the foundation is to promote interaction and communication of values and cultures between the West and the East with a commitment to supporting social cohesion and business expertise within developing economies.

The foundation is chaired by Michael Moore, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Director General of the WTO. The Foundation leads social sponsorship and research projects in the fields of culture, science, education, sport, healthcare; and business in the markets where Altimo operates or plans to establish its presence.

Funding[edit]

Altimo provides funding of approximately $5 million per year, equivalent to disbursements from a capital fund of $50m+ over the same period. Altimo states that this policy may be subject to change from time to time with the agreement of the Executive and Council members of the Foundation.

A proportion of the Foundation's funds are reserved for ad-hoc purposes including "grants in aid" to provide funding for projects such as emergency relief efforts in the event of natural disasters or smaller project funding in the form of "Chairman's grants" as determined from time to time by the chairman of the Foundation's Board.

Altimo has kindly agreed to absorb all administrative costs of the Foundation including, inter alia, legal and accountancy expenses, the costs of the Executive and Independent Trustees of the Foundation.

The Foundation's work[edit]

Charitable donations[edit]

In October 2007 the Altimo Foundation made a VND 164,000,000 donation to Vietnam Red Cross to support families affected by Typhoon Lekima in Vietnam's central provinces. Altimo's donation to the Vietnamese Red Cross was used to purchase essential relief supplies to support those affected by the typhoon and help them rebuild their lives.

In June 2008 the foundation made a donation to the people of the Myanmar coastal province of Burma after the Hurricane Nargis passed through the Irrawaddy delta region.

Sport[edit]

Altimo was an Official Sponsor of the 2007 Stockholm Open international tennis and in February 2008 sponsored the fifth Royal Palace Sprint in Stockholm. The Royal Palace Sprint is a cross-country skiing competition, part of the FIS World Cup.

Arts[edit]

Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm - In August 2007, Altimo hosted a reception in connection with the opening concert of the fifth annual Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm. Among the guests attending the concert and reception were Swedish business people and representatives of the diplomatic corps.

Vietnamese Water Puppetry - In September 2007 Altimo arranged a traditional Vietnamese Water Puppetry show is being that took place in the private gardens of Regent's College where a specially built theatre will held the 60 tonne water tank for the performers.

Mevlana exhibition – In November 2007 Altimo sponsored an exhibition dedicated to the famous medieval poet, Mevlana, whose movement was prominent in Istanbul, Turkey. The exhibition took place at the Pera Museum between November 14, 2007 and March 30, 2008. The exhibition showcased artifacts that traced the 800 year old story of Mevlana and his culture and aimed to tell the story of Mevlana Culture, its effects on people and its importance in history.

Russian ballet in Vietnam - In January 2008 the Altimo Foundation organised a gala concert of Russian ballet dancers from the Bolshoi and Stanislavski companies at the Hanoi Opera House. The performance was the Gala Performance, which consists of the most important 12 scenes of classical ballet history.

Education[edit]

The Altimo Vietnam Scholarship Project

The Altimo Vietnam Scholarship Project is designed to provide students from Vietnam with an opportunity to increase their level of education and employability through sponsored study. The project sponsors two Vietnamese students to study abroad at the business school INSEAD and 10 to study at the Russian technology university MTUSI in Moscow. This designed to provide successful candidates with the necessary skills to progress into a variety of careers including telecoms.

The first Altimo students started their courses in September 2008.

Altimo states that a steering committee comprising Altimo executives, representative of the Committee on Overseas Training Project of the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam, and the academic community will be established to oversee and advise upon the development and structure of the Altimo Vietnam Scholarship Project.

Altimo Index[edit]

Source: altimofoundation.org

The Altimo Mobile Development Index evaluates the mobile telecommunications investment opportunities represented by over 50 international markets, grouped in key regions. Results are updated every six months and were first published in April 2007.

It is a composite index designed to estimate the economic conditions of investment attractiveness of mobile telecommunications markets, and to compare most of the emerging economies on this basis. Previously Altimo believed that there was a lack of reliable instruments to measure the attractiveness and profitability of mobile telecommunications markets and to estimate macroeconomic conditions and to analyse the activities of current operators.

The index is prepared by Altimo in collaboration with Professor Alexey Goriaev of the Russian School of Economics in Moscow, and Professors Chris Higson of the London Business School and Sean Holly of Cambridge University.

The main objective of the project is to create a universal indicator of market attractiveness for companies and research institutions interested in investment in the emerging markets of mobile telephony.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]