Nov.28 - Russia's second biggest mobile operator MegaFon has raised $1.7 billion through an initial public offering, the biggest telecoms listing in London for more that a decade but shares immediately trader. Hayley Platt reports.
$1.7 billion is today's daily digit in Europe. It's the amount Russian mobile phone operator MegaFon raised through an initial public offering. It was the biggest stock market listing by a Russian company and the biggest telecoms listing in London for more than a decade. Shares were priced at $20 - the bottom end of the range. But that values the company at $11.1 billion dollars. A good buy says telecoms analyst Alexander Vengranovich. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OTKRITIE CAPITAL TELECOMS ANALYST ALEXANDER VENGRANOVICH, SAYING: "The company is in a good shape, everybody understands that it's a quality name. Russian telecoms market and especially mobile telecoms is one of the most stable markets in Russia in comparison to oil and in comparison to other sectors like utilities and metals. So for the next year I would expect that the growth of that segment will continue." MegaFon is owned by Alisher Usmanov - Russia's richest man - and is the country's second biggest mobile phone operator. It's now one of 65 Russian companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange But its decision to go public hasn't been without problems. Questions over corporate governance reportedly caused Goldman Sachs to drop out of the deal. And the UK Listing Authority only signed off on it after Usmanov promised to restructure assets to maintain overall control. Shares fell below the offer price when markets opened. But the $1.7 billion brings the amount of capital raised in London this year by Russian new issues to $8.2 billion.