VimpelCom, parent company of local telecommunications provider Beeline, announced on Friday it had sold its entire indirect stake in Cambodia’s Sotelco to its local partner, Cambodian tycoon Huot Vanthan, after reviewing the value its operations brought to the company. 

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Phnom Penh Post“We have previously outlined our value agenda, within which our operations are reviewed to assess their future value to the group,” Jo Lunder, chief executive of the Amsterdam-based telecommunications services operator, said.

“The decision to sell our interest in Cambodia is a result of this process. We are happy that our long-term partner in the company now takes control of the business in Cambodia.”

Bild Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In July, 2008, VimpelCom announced it had acquired a 90 per cent stake in Sotelco. The transaction was made through the purchase of 90 per cent of Sotelco’s parent company.

The remaining 10 per cent of the parent company would remain with a local partner, a Cambodian entrepreneur, a press release said.

In May, 2009, VimpelCom officially announced the commercial launch under the Beeline brand in Cambodia via its subsidiary Sotelco Ltd.

Huot Vanthan is also the chairman and chief executive of the Cambodian First Investment Specialized Bank.

VimpelCom group communications director Bobby Leach told the Post yesterday in an email that Beeline’s operations would not be affected by the change of ownership.

“Beeline Cambodia will continue in the shorter term to operate under the Beeline brand, and other than decisions made by the new owners, the change in ownership should not affect the operations of the business,” Leach said.

“The sale is a result of our ongoing portfolio review, in which we are reviewing the longer-term potential of each company in the VimpelCom group and where we wish to allocate capital.”

Beeline could not be reached for comment and did not reply to an email sent yesterday.

Beeline’s subscriber base dropped by nearly 50 per cent from the third quarter compared to the last quarter of 2012, from 1,020,000 to 597,000 SIM-card owners.

VimpelCom announced in its financial statement as of December 31 last year that it “intends to dispose of its entire indirect 90 per cent stake in Sotelco Ltd”, adding that negotiations with a potential buyer were in progress.

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Author | Anne Renzenbrink & Sarah Thust

Last Update | 22.04.2013

Licensed | Phnom Penh Post

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The Phnom Penh Post claims to be the oldest existing independent newspaper in any language in Cambodia. First published in July 1992, the Post is read by thousands of foreigners and Cambodians throughout the country.