Vivacom

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Vivacom
Joint Stock Company
Industrytelecommunications
Founded1992
HeadquartersSofia, Bulgaria
Key people
Atanas Dobrev, CEO
ProductsSatellite television, IPTV, Fixed line, Mobile telephony, Internet service provider
RevenueIncrease €447.8 million; BGN 875.25 million (2016)[1]
Number of employees
5 905
Websitevivacom.bg

Vivacom (Bulgarian: Виваком) is the brand name of "Bulgarian Telecommunications Company EAD" ("BTC"), the largest telecommunications company in Bulgaria and a former state-owned incumbent operator. The company is headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria and employs around 6,000 people, owning a mature distribution network with around 300 branded retail outlets and alternative sale points.

Vivacom is a fully integrated operator, providing mobile, fixed voice, fixed broadband and pay-TV (both DTH and IPTV) services on a nationwide scale to both residential and business customers. The fixed-line services are provided through copper-based and fiber network footprint, while the mobile services are based on GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA+/LTE technologies.

Vivacom owns and operates – Plana teleport, which features more than 40 transmit and receive antennas able to deliver transmission and connectivity even to the most remote points, including orbital positions in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

History[edit]

BTC has its roots as the incumbent fixed-line operator organizing and facilitating communications services in Bulgaria. The Company has gone through various stages of operation – from the long period of state-owned structure to the privatization procedure in 2004, when the Bulgarian government sold 65% of the share capital.[2]

In May 2005 the BTC was granted a license for the development of third-generation mobile telecommunication systems under the UMTS standard. In November 2005 the Company launched its mobile services under the “Vivatel” brand. “Vivatel” became Bulgaria's fastest growing mobile operator following its launch.[citation needed]

In January 2009, BTC announced the merger with its subsidiary BTC Mobile (“Vivatel”).[citation needed]

In September 2009, BTC and Vivatel united into a new brand - Vivacom.

Nowadays, Vivacom is the operator that offers the widest range of telecommunication solutions on the Bulgarian market.[citation needed]

In late 2012, VTB Capital, the investment arm of Russia’s second-largest bank, has led a consortium (Viva Telecom Bulgaria EAD) to buy a controlling stake in BTC. The consortium included a local partner, Mr. Tzvetan Vassilev. In November 2012, Viva Telecom Bulgaria EAD acquired a 93.99 percent stake in the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company. The transaction became a fact as a result of the approval of a comprehensive scheme for the sale and restructuring of the company. The deal received approval from the European Commission and other regulatory authorities.[3] Local experts state that the purchase of VIVACOM was among the most complicated deals in Bulgaria.[4]

In 2013, Vivacom shareholders, including Tzvetan Vassilev, were issued a EUR150mn credit. Vassilev failed to make timely payments on the loan, due to the problems with Corporate Commercial Bank, where he was a majority shareholder. Soon after, Vassilev fled the country. Since Vassilev could not meet his financial obligations, the loan’s collateral, 100% shares of Vivacom’s holding company, was sold at an open competitive auction. The auction was conducted by Ernst&Young with the participation of major international bidders, including US companies. After 20 rounds of bidding, a consortium of financial investors led by Spas Roussev was declared the winner and new owner of Vivacom. The consortium included VTB Capital and Delta company with its owner Milen Velchev, CEO of VTB Capital AD (the bank's Bulgarian subsidiary). According to people close to the deal, VTB was the seller and the buyer of the auction at the same time and provided Mr. Roussev required amount.

Based on the last financial report "Consolidated and separate activities report for the six months ended June 30, 2016", published on official Vivacom site, the Ultimate parent company of Bulgarian Telecommunications Company ("BTC") is V Telecom Investment S.C.A. There are two shareholders which own more than 20% of the V Telecom share capital: LIC Telecommunications S.a.r.l. (Indirectly owned by Empreno Ventures Limited with its beneficial owner Mr. Dmitry Kosarev) with 43,3% of the V Telecom share capital and Crusher Investment Limited, with 33.3%. In spite of the fact that VTB announced the sale of the Vivacom to Mr. Roussev in November 2015, the transaction hasn't closed yet and Mr. Dmitry Kosarev remains the largest shareholder of the company.

In June 2016, over 87% of bondholders for BTC’s EUR400mn Eurobond issue granted their consent for change of control over the company, as disclosed on the Irish Stock Exchange, further supporting the auction’s legitimacy.[5] The acquisition also received merger control clearance from the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition and the European Commission. According to Mr. Kosarev interview the European Commission hasn't approved the deal yet.[6] The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition has given the authorization on the basis of incorrect data about the consortium's structure and role of the VTB in it provided by the buyer. This resolution was challenged in the Bulgarian court by Empreno.

Empreno has filed a lawsuit against VTB Capital in the High Court of London, the litigation is still pending.

In August 2016 Empreno sent an appeal to the VTB Supervisory board members to warn them about VTB managements plan to allocate a €240 million fraudulent loan to the consortium of buyers for the purchase of InterV company (indirect holding company of the BTC). During the bond holders consent obtaining process VTB hasn't provided a number of important information, misleading them. As a result, the US Trustee bank, which is representing bond holders interests, refused to sign any consent documents. As a consequence of long negotiations bond holders agreed to provide consent in case of implementation a number of important conditions, such as: ceasing of all litigation and legal confirmation of Mr. Roussev and Mr. Velchev capital origin. Legally there is no consent, because neither one nor the other requirement can not be done. Thus, if VTB sells pledged as collateral shares, it provide bond holders an opportunity for bonds early redemption, which inevitably would lead to the company bankruptcy.

In February 2018 the judgement by The English High Court gave a provisional ruling that a case alleging VTB Capital rigged an auction to sell Bulgaria's largest telecommunications company, should go to full trial.[7] The judgement confirmed the right of Empreno Ventures Ltd and LIC Telecommunications S.a.r.l. to continue proceedings over VTB Capital Plc.

On 31 July 2018 an additional new claim by V2 Investment Sarl (“V2”) against Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) SA (“Viva Luxembourg”), a consortium led by VTB Capital, filed with the English High Court.  In its claim V2 challenges the outcome of the auction resulted in the sale of a Bulgarian telecom company Vivacom at a gross undervalue to the purchaser affiliated with VTB and its managers.[8] V2 seeks to reverse the sale by VTB Capital of 100% shares in Vivacom holding company called InterV Investment Sarl (“InterV”) and to reinstate the previous shareholding structure over the telecom operator.[9]

Operations[edit]

Mobile Service[edit]

As of December 31, 2016, Vivacom is the third largest mobile operator in Bulgaria, based on the number of subscribers. The company's mobile service revenue market share is approximately 28% for the year ended December 31, 2016.

As the end of 2016, Vivacom’s mobile network has the following coverage of the Bulgarian population:

  • 2G (GSM/GRPS/EDGE) - 99.99%;
  • 3G (UMTS/HSPA+) - 99.98%;
  • 4G (LTE) - 86.75%.

Vivacom’s 4G network has received the highest score – GWS OneScore – for speed measurement done in Sofia, Ruse, Sozopol, Kavarna and settlements on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The measurement of the five existing in Bulgaria LTE networks was performed by Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) on their methodology in the period 15.10–15.11.2016.[citation needed]

Fixed-line services[edit]

Vivacom is the incumbent in the fixed voice market with 82% revenue share as at December 31, 2016.

As of December 31, 2016 Vivacom is the largest fixed broadband operator with 26% subscriber market share.

As of the end of 2016, Vivacom is positioned as the third largest pay-TV provider and the largest IPTV operator.[citation needed]

Supervisory board[edit]

  • Spas Rusev - Member of the Supervisory Board[10]
  • Bojan Ivanovic - Member of the Supervisory Board
  • Zeno Meier - Member of the Supervisory Board
  • Bruno Ducharme - Member of the Supervisory Board
  • Franz Hoerhager - Member of the Supervisory Board

Management Board[edit]

  • Atanas Dobrev - Member of the Managing Board, Chief Executive Officer
  • Radoslav Zlatkov - Chief Technical Officer
  • Ivo Zlatev - Chief Legal Officer
  • Dimitris Lioupis - Chief Marketing Officer
  • Miroslav Petrov - Chief Sales Officer
  • Asen Velikov - Chief Financial Officer

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://s2.vivacom.bg/files/financial_reports/82/document/Vivacom_report_2016.pdf
  2. ^ Historical summary – Bulgarian Posts website
  3. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "UPDATE 1-RLPC-Bulgaria's Vivacom gets court approval for restructuring". U.S. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  4. ^ BSH. "BOYANOV & Co. Advises on "Probably the Most Complicated Deal in Bulgaria Ever" «  Borislav Boyanov & Co". boyanov.com. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  5. ^ "Market News". www.ise.ie. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  6. ^ "Dmitry Kosarev: Yuri Soloviev is the mastermind of the attack on Vivacom". Empreno Ventures (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  7. ^ "London judge rules auction-rigging case can go to full trial". www.complinet.com. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  8. ^ "Акционеры не сдают Vivacom". Газета "Коммерсантъ". 2018-04-08. p. 1. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  9. ^ "Press Releases". Empreno Ventures (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  10. ^ https://www.vivacom.bg/en/about/about-us/company/management#supervisory-board

External links[edit]