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MegaFon bargained Yugratel

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One of the largest alternative operators of the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous district (KhMAO) "Yugratel" is under the control of "Megafon". For "Yugratel," which attracted interest of MTS, "Vimpelcom" and "Rostelecom", "Megafon" has agreed to pay 2.42 billion rubles.

On Friday, took place the auction for the sale of "Yugratel" (72.13% owned by the Government of Khanty-Mansiysk, 27.87% -by city of Surgut administration). The initial price was 2.145 billion rubles. The auction was attended by three companies: in addition to stated their interest earlier "Megafon" and MTS for the operator struggled a private equity fund "Elbrus Capital", clarified "Kommersant" in the Department of State Property Management of Khanty-Mansiysk. The winner was declared "Megafon" which offered 2.42 billion rubles.

"Yugratel" - one of the largest telecom operators in Khanty-Mansiysk, by its own data, it serves 7% of the market share of local telephony and 10% of Internet access. As follows from the presentation of the operator (there is a copy at the disposal of "Kommersant"), its revenue by the end of 2010 amounted to 879.3 million rubles, net profit - 129.2 million rubles, EBITDA - 259,4 million rubles. Broadband ARPU (average monthly expense per subscriber) was 688 rubles, ARPU of cable TV - 243 rubles. Investment Program for 2011-2012 is estimated at 545 million rubles.

"Megafon" declined to comment on the purchase, citing the fact that the transaction has not been closed yet (it is expected that this will happen within five days). MTS gave their current positions in the mobile and fixed networks in Khanty-Mansiysk as "pretty strong," and value of "Yugratel" as overpriced.

Final price of "Yugratel" amounted to about 9.3 rates of EBITDA, which is considerably above the market. However, according to the forecast, in 2011, EBITDA of "Yugratel" will increase. As a result, the budgeted estimate the company's EV / EBITDA for 2011 may reach 7.5, which is comparable to M&A deals in the market for regional broadband and cable TV in 2010-2011

In addition to the MTS and "MegaFon" in buying of "Yugratel" was interested two major Russian telecommunications operators "Rostelecom" and "Vimpelcom" (see "Kommersant" on 28 September). However, "Rostelecom" has not received permission to trade from the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), as its market share of Internet access in KhMAO could increase to 85.83%. In the "Vimpelcom", according to a source close to it, considered the starting value of the asset overpriced. In addition, last year, "Vimpelcom" acquired for 1.4 billion rubles company "Foratek" having a strong position in KhMAO.

"MegaFon" was originally the main contender for "Yugratel." "This is the only major operator that does not have a significant market share in broadband and cable TV" - reminds "iKS-Consulting" analyst Maxim Savvatin.

Unlike its competitors in the "big three" regional expansionb of "MegaFon" began only last year, when it took a long haul operator "Synterra" for $745 million, and later a major fixed-line operator in St. Petersburg "Metrocom" which cost 2 billion rubles.

This year's "Megafon" has finally reached the broadband access market in Moscow, closing a deal to buy Internet service provider "NetByNet" for $ 270 million (excluding debt, which was estimated at about $ 30 million). This allowed "Megafon" to take 10% of the capital market access to the Internet.

A government spokesman in KhMAO said: the selling price was by about 13% higher than the starting one (2.15 billion rubles.).

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