The Telecominvest group has concluded a deal to sell its 25% stake in Delta Telecom to the Cypriot offshore company Telco Overseas. This was revealed by the company's press office on Sunday, January 5. The company also announced that it has sold its 100% stake in Neva Line to Inter-regional Transit Telecom, its 100% stake in BaltTelecom to Alsean-N, and its 100% stake in the Presscom publishing house to Infospace. The sale of BaltTelecom means that Telecominvest no longer controls its subsidiary St. Petersburg International.
Commenting on the deals, Telecominvest general director Maxim Gorokhov declared that the sale of the shares was in line with the group's shareholder-approved development strategy of disposing of non-core businesses. However, Telecominvest press secretary Alexei Ionov told Rosbalt's correspondent that the company would not reveal how much the shares, including Delta Telecom shares were sold for.
In February 2002, North-West Telecom announced its intention to sell its stake in Delta Telecom (24.1% of ordinary shares and 100% of privileged shares) to Telco Overseas for USD 2.9 million. However, the international rating agency Standard & Poors considered this figure to be artificially low and consequently lowered North-West Telecom's corporate rating. In May 2002, North-West Telecom officially announced that it was halting the sale of the shares.
Delta Telecom, which operates on the NMT-4501 standard in the Russian North-West, was established in 1991 by the Petersburg Telephone Network and the American US West International corporation. Up till now the company's main shareholders have been RTK-Leasing, North-West Telecom, and Telecominvest. In December 2002, Delta Telecom launched a digital network in St. Petersburg using the CDMA-2000 1x standard and 450 MHz frequency. The network trades under the name Sky Link. In spring 2003, the company plans to extend its service using the new standard to the Leningrad Region, and by the end of the year it intends to build sections of the network throughout the Russian North-West.
The Telecominvest group was established in 1994 by the Petersburg Telephone Network and St. Petersburg Intercity and International Telephone. Today Telecominvest combines companies that offer mobile and fixed-line communications and that produce telecommunications equipment and information and billing systems. Telecominvest's largest project is the nationwide mobile communications operator Megafon.