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AFK Sistema to invest $1 billion in Indian project

AFK Sistema, one of Russia’s largest diversified companies, said on Wednesday it planned to invest up to $1 billion into a project in India in 2008.

AFK Sistema bought 51% of stocks of the local Indian mobile communications provider Shyam Telelink in 2007 and plans to acquire 70-72% of the company. Alexander Goncharuk, the company’s president and CEO, said the funds would be spent not only on “capital investments, but also on payments for frequencies and licenses.” Goncharuk said the company would need around two-three years “to build and develop the network.” He also said Sistema would become “a considerable player on the market of wireless communications in India”. According to the company’s earlier reports, it is ready to invest $5-7 billion in the Indian market.

Sistema is the largest public diversified corporation in Russia and the CIS, which manages fast growing companies operating in the consumer services sector and has over 80 million customers. It develops and manages market-leading businesses in selected service-based industries, including telecommunications, technology, banking, real estate, retail and media. The company said in a news release Wednesday that its 2007 revenue increased 33.5% year-on-year to $13.7 billion. (