Russia's VimpelCom has increased its stake in its Vietnamese joint venture, GTEL Mobile, and will take control of the venture.
The operator said it had paid $196 million to increase its stake in GTEL Mobile - which provides GSM services in Vietnam under VimpelCom's Beeline brand - to 49% from 40%. Vimpelcom added that it will “assume operational management” of the venture.
VimpelCom has also arranged to take a 65% majority stake in the venture with the eventual extra $304 million investment.
GTEL Mobile director Alexey Blyumin said the company was making progress with plans to “relaunch” in Vietnam.
“We are confident that we will be able to develop our operations in Vietnam in close cooperation with our partner, GTEL, while taking advantage of the scale and scope of the newly enlarged VimpelCom Group,” he said.
GTEL Mobile commenced services in mid-2009, but has reportedly had trouble retaining subscribers. There had been rumors that VimpelCom was considering withdrawing capital financing from the venture.
Beeline's Southeast Asian mobile operations – comprising Cambodia and Vietnam - recorded a loss of $9.8 million in Q4 last year, but revenues had grown 38% to $6.9 million on the development of its Cambodian business.