On 19 March 2009, VTB Bank Branch in Irkutsk gave the first tranche of USD 4.3 million to CJSC Baikalwestcom under the loan facility of USD 18.5 million. This loan facility was extended to the customer within the framework of Individual loan agreement between VTB and Eximbank of China signed during the last year visit of Hu Jintao, Chinese President, to Moscow.
Under the loan facility VTB finances the supplies of telecommunication equipment of the Chinese company Huawei Technologies. Therefore, owing to VTB active customer relationship and activities abroad, support is provided to modernize domestic telecommunication companies in tight liquidity of the Russian market.
The project is financed in line with the Master loan agreement signed between VTB and Eximbank of China on 26 March 2007 and totaling USD 500 million. The agreement is aimed at developing bilateral interbank relationships, increasing trade turnover between Russia and China and enhancing financial support to Russian import of telecommunication equipment and services from China.
CJSC Baikalwestcom is the largest mobile operator in East Siberia (it comprises 41% of the regional mobile market) with 100% of the shares belonging to OJSC SibirTelecom (Svyazinvest Group).
Baikalwestcom was established in 1995. Today, it provides services in GSM 900/1800 and CDMA 2000 1x EV-DO standards (mobile services, access to the Internet and transfer of data). The company covers over 450 of the Irkutsk region cities, the number of its subscribers is about 1.8 million people.