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Russian govt. may buy stake in Indian telecom firm - paper

  The Russian government is considering a deal to acquire a stake in an Indian telecom firm that is majority owned by Russia’s diversified holding company AFK Sistema, a business daily reported on Wednesday.

Russia could pay $690 mln for a 20% stake in Shyam TeleServices as part of India’s debt settlement scheme, Kommersant said. Sistema Shyam TeleServices holds licenses to provide mobile phone services in 22 Indian regions and has more than 500,000 subscribers.

The Indian firm is already more than 73% controlled by the Sistema group that owns Russia’s largest mobile phone operator, MTS.

The newspaper suggested Sistema might experience problems implementing its expansion plans without state support due to its crippling debts.

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. (