Mar 17, 2022
Veon, Bondholders Enlist Advisors Ahead of Planned Debt Talks
(Bloomberg) -- Veon Ltd. bondholders are working with advisers from Houlihan Lokey Inc. and law firm Milbank as they prepare for debt talks with the company, which has close ties to Russia, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Veon, which was founded in Moscow as VimpelCom, received 51% of its revenues from Russia last year, and 14% from Ukraine, according to the company’s latest presentation to investors. The Amsterdam-based telecommunications company has come under pressure in the wake of the war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S., European Union and U.K.
Moelis & Co. is providing financial advice to the company, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.
A representative for Milbank didn’t respond to requests for comment. Houlihan Lokey and Moelis declined to comment.
“VEON itself is not subject to sanctions and has taken measures to ensure continuity of service and operations. Furthermore, while sanctions have impacted certain shareholders, the impact of those individual sanctions does not flow down to VEON in a manner that subjects it to sanctions,” a representative for the company said, without saying whether or not they had engaged advisers.
LetterOne Investment Holdings, the investment company founded by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, owns 47.9% of Veon. Fridman, was recently sanctioned by both the European Union and the U.K. and stepped down from the boards of Veon and LetterOne.
Veon has $2.1 billion in cash and deposits, including $1.5 billion held in Amsterdam in euro or dollar denominations, the representative said by email.
The company’s bonds slipped into distressed territory after Russia invaded Ukraine and was sanctioned by other nations. Its 3.375% U.S. dollar notes due 2027 fell to as low as 39 cents on the dollar this month, and now trade around 58.5 cents, according to Trace.
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