MTS Considers Pulling U.S. Listing as Investors Fret Over Sanctions

(Bloomberg) -- Mobile TeleSystems PJSC, the carrier controlled by billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov’s Sistema PJSFC, is considering delisting from the New York Stock Exchange as the company increases its focus on Russia and investors fret about the effects of U.S. sanctions.

MTS will examine “whether or not having listing in the U.S. with associated costs continues to serve the best interests of shareholders, or whether a listing elsewhere may be preferable,” the company said Friday in an emailed statement.

MTS fell as much as 5.5 percent in Moscow.

MTS has been trading in New York since 2000 and the decision to review that listing comes after another Russian wireless carrier, MegaFon PJSC, pulled its shares from London last year as international sanctions spoiled investor appetite toward Russian assets.

MTS in November took a 55.8 billion-ruble ($848 million) provision to cover a possible liabilities related to a U.S. investigation on bribery allegations in Uzbekistan, a market the carrier left in 2016.

MTS may offer investors to exchange their American depositary receipts into MTS shares traded in Moscow or any other place they feel comfortable with, spokeswoman Elena Kokhanovskaya said by phone. A final decision will be taken after consultations with international shareholders, she said.

Unlike MegaFon, which was taken private and is winding down its Moscow listing as well, MTS still sees "strategic benefits of being a publicly listed company," it said in the statement.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.