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Beeline Weighs Future Options in Cambodia

VimpelCom Ltd., the Russian mobile telephone operator that runs the Beeline brand in Cambodia, is reviewing its assets in Cambodia to decide whether it should stop doing business here or merge with another firm in the country, an official at the company said yesterday.

“We will conduct a thorough review of each of the company’s assets to determine where we want to elevate capital,” Bobby Leach, communications director at VimpelCom, said by telephone from the company’s headquarters Amsterdam. When asked whether Beeline plans to leave Cambodia or whether the company would be sold, he said: “We have several options, but we have not completed the analysis.”

According to its first-quarter financial report released yesterday, VimpelCom said the average revenue generated from each of its users during the first quarter had more than halved to $1.6 compared to $3.5 in the same quarter the previous year.

In Southeast Asia, the company’s operating revenues increased by almost $13 million year-on-year between Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. However, the company last month decided to sell off its Vietnamese assets due to falling profits “We left Vietnam because we realized we came in late to an overcrowded market,” Mr. Leach said, declining to divulge revenue figures for their Cambodian operations.

VimpelCom devalued its Cambodia and Vietnam operations in a statement in March by $527 million.

Beeline, which began operations in Cambodia in May 2009, is one of 10 mobile operations here vying for customers in an oversaturated market. Several of the operators are reportedly in talks to carry out mergers and acquisitions.

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