21
Feb
10

Sergei Adoniev: Skartel’s co-owner, the new big player in Russian new technologies (Kommersant)

Sergei Adoniev is one of the managers of new Russian telecommunication giant Skartel (traded as Yota). With Skartel, Adoniev is leading the Wimax technology (or 4G) market in Russia, a technology which is replacing the current 3G. I’ve put below a translation of a very interesting Kommersant article on Sergei Adoniev and fast-growing Skartel, which was published on December 2, 2009.

Kommersant, December 2, 2009

One of the co-owners of the WiMax operator “SKARTEL” (Trading as YOTA, 25.1% owned by the state company Rostechnologies) is Sergei Adoniev, a former business partner of Vladimir Kekhman, the primary shareholder of one of Russia’s main fruit importers, JFC. Mr. Adoniev’s stake is inferior to the blocking stake although it is thought that he could have held up to 75% of the Operator.

A source close to the Company indicated to “*” that Sergei Adoniev is one of the fund managers of TELCONET CAPITAL LIMITED (which possesses 74.9% of WIMAX HOLDING, which in turn controls SKARTEL). According to the source, Mr. Adoniev has a stake in TELCONET CAPITAL which is less than the “blocking stake”. He did not provide the names of the other managers of the fund. Another source close to the Company stated that when the Operator was starting to provide its services in 2008, Sergei Adoniev owned 75% of the Company. “Afterwards the individual contributions to the Company’s capital could be modified” clarified “3”‘s source. SCARTEL’s CEO, Denis Sverdlov has refused to comment on Sergei Adoniev’s shareholding in TELCONET however he did not refute the information.

Sergei Adoniev is known for having created the company OLBI-JAZZ in 1993 with Vladimir Kekhman. OLBI-JAZZ is the commercial division of the OLBI-DIPLOMAT consortium. In one year, the Company became one of the biggest fruit importers (it also imported sugar). After the sale of “OLBI” to the National Sport Fund, Mr. Kekhman founded his own company, JFC which is currently one of the leaders in Russia’s fruit market. Mr. Adoniev no longer has any stake in JFC.

According to SKARTEL’s CEO Denis Sverdlov, the operator SKARTEL (OOO SKARTEL provides services under the ensign YOTA) is wholly controlled by the company KRISTIVA HOLDINGS LTD which in turn is 100% owned by WIMAX HOLDING LTD. ROSTECHNOLOGIES possesses 25.1% of WIMAX HOLDING LTD, the rest being owned by the administrative company TELCONET CAPITAL PARTNERSHIP. According to information provided by “*” SKARTEL’s CEO, Denis Sverdlov is also an investor in the fund.

In October last year ROSTECHNOLOGIES exercised its option to purchase 25.1% of the company WIMAX HOLDING LTD. The transaction did not occur via an increase in the capital of the administrative company, in other words this was not the result of a call for investment/funds to further develop the business. It was in fact TELCONET CAPITAL LP which sold its stake. In November the same year, SKARTEL announced that its operations had achieved profitability. According to Denis Sverdlov, the Company’s October profit was USD 6 million and the performance indicator EBITDA was positive for the first time. The subscriber database is made up of 250’000 individuals according to Denis Sverdlov. 

IN 2008 SKARTEL announced the launch of its WiMax mobile network in Russia. The Operator promised that it would provide coverage within 3 to 4 years of 40 of Russia’s largest cities and that it would invest about USD 1 billion in network development. According to Denis Sverdlov, at this point in time USD 500 million has been invested in the Operator. Networks have already been built in Moscow, St Petersburg, Oufa, Krasnodar and Sotchi. It was quickly apparent that the operator was ready to expand overseas. SKARTEL has planned to create networks in a series of Latin American countries: Peru (license obtained), Nicaragua, and Venezuela and also envisages targeting the mobile communications market in India.

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