Russian telecommunications services company VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP: Quote) has Friday been issued a new expanded injunction order by a Russian court that adds further restrictions to an earlier limited injunction order issued exactly a month ago by the same court.
The Moscow Arbitration Court has issued an expanded injunction order in connection with earlier announced claims by the Russian Federal Anti-monopoly service or FAS, against two of VimpelCom's largest shareholders, Telenor East Holding II AS and Weather Investments II S.a r.l.
Following the announcement, the shares of VimpelCom on the NYSE are trading sharply lower by $0.92 or 10.60 percent at $7.80 on a volume of 2.91 million shares.
FAS alleges that the two shareholders violated the Russian Law on Strategic Investments when Telenor acquired preferred shares of VimpelCom from Weather and the two also entered into other agreements. FAS has already asked the Russian court to invalidate the agreements. However, VimpelCom has been named as a third party to the claim.
The injunction order in late April only prohibited VimpelCom and its unit VimpelCom Holdings B.V., which together fully own OJSC VimpelCom, from voting their shares at shareholder meetings of OJSC VimpelCom to change the OJSC VimpelCom board of directors, and to approve major transactions.
Today's new expanded order also prohibits them from giving effect to the resolutions of the annual general shareholders meeting of OJSC VimpelC?m, which was held on Monday. The prohibitions include approval of dividend payments by OJSC VimpelCom, and transfer of funds from the subsidiary.
VimpelCom noted that it intends to appeal the expanded injunction order, but will also try to reach an amicable resolution with the regulators as it was not directly involved in the transaction between Telenor and Weather.
The court has earlier and now rejected the Russian regulator's request to completely prohibit VimpelCom from voting its shares in its Russian subsidiary OJSC VimpelCom at the annual meeting.
The company noted that further hearing on the merits of the FAS claim is currently scheduled to take place on October 17, with the new injunction remaining in force unless it is lifted on appeal.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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