Megafon launches IPO roadshow



Russian mobile phone company MegaFon is pressing ahead with its multi-billion dollar flotation after getting the green light from British regulators to list in London.

MegaFon which is controlled by Alisher Usmanov, the controversial Russian tycoon who has a 29pc stake in Arsenal Football Club on Thursday set out an indicative price range of between $20 and $25 a share for the flotation.

The float will see 15pc of the company’s shares sold, giving MegaFon a market capitalisation of between $11.2bn (£7.1bn) and $14bn, making it one of the largest listings of a Russian company since January 2010.

MegaFon is selling 5pc of its treasury stock in the flotation and Swedish telecoms group TeliaSonera (Dusseldorf: TLS.DU - news) is selling 10pc of its 35pc holding in MegaFon. The share sale will raise up to $2.1bn.

However, AF Telecom, Mr Usmanov’s vehicle, is not selling any of its 50pc shareholding in what is Russia’s second-largest mobile phone operator.

Thursday’s price announcement will reassure potential investors as MegaFon delayed its investor road show in October, raising concerns that the flotation could be scrapped.

That delay followed news that bankers at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS - news) had pulled out as lead advisers on the flotation because of worries about corporate governance.

The investment bank was reported to be concerned about the fact that Mr Usmanov’s MegaFon stake was due to be placed in a holding company in which two of his partners, Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri and former Russian politician Andrei Skoch, are also shareholders.

However, company insiders said the UK Listing Authority, a division of the Financial Services Authority, had “approved MegaFon’s preliminary flotation prospectus”.

Sources said MegaFon’s float is likely to draw on the growth potential of Skartel, a subsidiary that trades in Russia as Yota. The company is in the process of rolling out a 4G network across the country.