Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TeliaSonera gets a dose of Eurasian blues; Polish 4G auction hits the jackpot; Finnish chill freezes Elisa's numbers.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) have formed a partner market agreement in Ukraine, which will see the launch of 3G services under the Vodafone brand in those parts of the country that are still directly controlled by the Ukrainian government. Political upheaval in Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, hit MTS's profits as it ceased operations in the region following its annexation by Russia in March 2014. MTS Ukraine has more than 20 million customers and 3,800 employees. (See Russia's MTS Upbeat on Sales as Profits Dip.)
Got those Eurasian alleged corruption blues… US activist investor Muddy Waters has accused Swedish operator Telia Company of being rather backward in coming forward with information about alleged corruption in its Eurasian units, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). The investor, which specializes in "short selling," alleged TeliaSonera could have made "corrupt payments" exceeding 17 billion Swedish kronor (US$2.06 billion). In its defense, the operator said in a statement: "TeliaSonera is as open and transparent as possible with respect to listing requirements and the investigations," adding that it "fully cooperates" with ongoing investigations in Sweden, the Netherlands and the US. TeliaSonera has recently announced that it intends to largely pull out of Eurasia to concentrate on markets closer to home, with the flakiness of the business environment out east being a major factor in its decision. (See TeliaSonera to Quit Eurasia, Focus on Europe.)
Poland's 4G spectrum auction has raised almost six times more than expected, according to a Reuters report. UKE, the Polish telecom regulator, said that 9.23 billion zlotys ($2.5 billion) was raised in bids from Orange (NYSE: FTE), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Cyfrowy Polsat and P4. UKE will disclose which were the successful bids in due course.
Third-quarter pre-tax profits at Finnish operator Elisa Corp. remained flat year-on-year, at €83 million ($94.2 million), on revenues that were up slightly to €394 million ($447.2 million). In a statement, CEO Veli-Matti Mattila said that the economic situation had "remained challenging," and he predicted that the macroeconomic environment in Finland would be in the doldrums for the foreseeable future.
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has opened an innovation center in Berlin, which the networking equipment vendor hopes will be a "platform for technology ideas." Nearly $30 million will be invested in the site by Cisco over the next few years.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading