On 28 October 2008, in Moscow VTB Bank and China Exim Bank signed an Individual Loan Agreement exceeding USD 18.5 mln. The ceremony was attended by Andrey Kostin, VTB President and Chairman of the Management Board and by Li Rougu, Chairman&President of China Exim Bank. The Agreement was signed within the framework of the Third Russian-Chinese Economic Forum.
The loan extended by VTB will be channeled into financing a commercial contract to purchase telecommunications equipment signed between CJSC Baikalwestcom and a Chinese company Huawei. This loan is another VTB project launched to implement the Bank's policy aimed at providing financial support to upgrading Russian telecommunications companies.
Li Rougu, Chairman&President of China Exim Bank;
Andrey Kostin, VTB President and Chairman of the Management Board.
This project is financed under the USD 500 mln Framework Loan Agreement signed between VTB and China Exim Bank on 26 March 2007. This agreement is designed to develop mutually rewarding interbank relationships, increase Russia-China trade turnover and enhance the financing of the Russian import of telecommunications equipment and services from China.
CJSC Baikalwestcom company is the largest mobile service provider in Eastern Siberia (it accounts to 41% of the regional communications market), 100 % of its shares belong to OJSC Sibirtelecom (Svyazinvest Group).
Baikalwestcom (BWC) was set up in 1995. Today, it provides services in GSM-900/1800 and CDMA 2000 1x EV-DO standards (cellular communication services, Internet access and data transmission). Over 450 build-up areas of the Irkutsk region are included to BWC signal coverage; the number of its subscribers is approximating 1.8 mln.
In 2006, the company was the first in Eastern Siberia to have launched CDMA2000 1x EV-DO standard, a cellular communication of the third generation. The standard is focused both on heavy talkers with unlimited voice traffic, and heavy Internet users. BWC signal coverage (Wellcom brand) includes Irkutsk, Angarsk, Shelekhov, Listvyanka (Baikal), Bolshoi Lug, Usolye-Sibirskoye and Telma.