Svyazinvest Board of Directors sets up new committees.

20/7 Tass 282

MOSCOW, July 20 (Itar-Tass) —— The state-owned telecom holding company Svyazinvest’s Board of Directors has set up four committees to deal with the company’s key areas of activity.

One committee will deal with strategic development, another one withy audit, a third one with HR and rewards, and the last one with corporate governance.

“The Board of Directors makes decisions on a wide range of issues. Before a matter is brought up to the attention of the Board of Directors it is as a rule is considered by the relevant committee that makes recommendations as to how to vote on it,” Svyazinvest spokesman Igor Pshenichnikov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday, July 20.

Svyazinvest earlier decided to hold an extraordinary meeting of shareholders on September 22 in order to terminate the mandate of the current Board of Directors and elect a new one.

Pshenichnikov said that the candidates to a new board of directors are not known. “None of the shareholders has so far sent in a list of nominees,” he said, adding that the lists should be submitted not later than 30 days before the meeting, i.e., by August 22.

The meeting has been initiated by the Federal Agency for the Management of State Property as the main shareholder of Svyazinvest. Its reasons are not known to the company, the spokesman said.

The current Board of Directors was elected by an annual shareholders’ meeting in late June. It consists of nine members, including Rostelecom President Alexander Provorotov, Svyazinvest Director-General Vadim Semenov, VEB Capital CEO Yuri Kudimov, and VTB 24 President Mikhail Zadornov.

Svyazinvest is the biggest Russian telecom holding company. Its main assets are seven inter-regional companies, the long-distance and international communication operator Rostelecom, and Russia’s leading communication designer Giprosvyaz. By March 2011, Svyazinvest’s companies have to consolidate around Rostelecom, forming the biggest national telecom operator.

“We expect a new player to appear on the market next year and hope that it will be capable of fulfilling the tasks set to it by the government and on the other hand that it will not demand constant subventions and subsidies and will be able to survive and compete with other major players,” Minister of Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev said earlier.

He confirmed that the government’s share in the new consolidated company would exceed 50 percent.

“Our estimates show that more than 50 percent will be controlled by the State,” the minister said, adding, “If in the future a decision is made to move on to a model that allows the company to be run without the full state-owned package, it will be a separate decision.”

Svyazinvest is not on the list of state-owned assets the Russian government plans to sell by 2015, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

“Svyazinvest is not on the list. The question of its privatisation should be raised only after reorganisation,” he said.

“Svyazinvest will cease to exist as a company [after reorganisation]. We believe that after reorganisation, after all corporate procedures what will come out of this company – most probably these will be Rostelecom shares – should offered on the market,” Shuvalov said.

“As a rule, before a company can place shares on an exchange it has to present auditable accounting documents for the previous year. Therefore, it would be proper to consider such a possibility from 2012,” Shchegolev said.

The minister explained that a number of factors could interfere, including “the reorganisation itself, the company’s need for extra funds, and the possibilities and needs of the federal budget.”

He expressed hope that Svyazinvest’s restructuring will increase the company’s capitalisation, and make it more transparent and attractive to investors, and capable of providing the full range of telecommunication services.

Svyazinvest’s 13 mobile operators presently provide services to about 15 million subscribers. The company plans to create a single mobile operator by integrating existing mobile assets with newly acquired assets and CDMA operator Sky Link, which is also expected to become Svyazinvest’s affiliate after an asset swap between the government and multi-industry holding AFK Sistema is closed.

Svyazinvest is one of the largest telecom holding companies in the world. Its charter capital was formed by consolidation of shares owned by the federal government in regional telecom operators, set up in the process of telecom sector privatisation, it is said in the company’s press release. Svyazinvest incorporates 7 large mega-regional telecom operators, OJSC Giprosvyaz and OJSC Rostelecom, the national domestic long-distance and international operator.

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