UPDATE 3-Vimpelcom says committed to Ukraine after $2 bln writedown

Thu Mar 6, 2014 9:24am EST
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* Reports $2.7 bln loss vs $437 mln profit forecast

* Loss reflects impairment charges for Ukraine, Canada

* Ukraine writedown due to recent turmoil in country

By Megan Davies and Maria Kiselyova

MOSCOW, March 6 (Reuters) - Russian mobile phone operator Vimpelcom slashed the value of its Ukrainian operations on Thursday but said it was committed to its business in the country despite the political and economic turmoil there.

Reporting earnings that fell short of analyst expectations, Vimpelcom also cut the value of its Canadian assets to zero after it withdrew from a 4G spectrum auction and reported a decline in revenue in its key market of Russia.

The third-biggest Russian mobile phone company already unnerved investors in January by slashing its dividend to free up cash for debt repayments.

Shares in Vimpelcom, in which Russia's Alfa Group and Norway's Telenor are the biggest investors, were down almost 4 percent in premarket trading on Nasdaq.

"The biggest disappointment for me is its performance in key regions," said Deutsche Bank analyst Igor Semenov, who has a "hold" rating on Vimpelcom shares.   Continued...