Russia-based MTS has announced it intends to buy a 25 percent stake in a bank owned by its parent company.
The mobile operator said the deal to acquire a quarter of MTS Bank will “greatly enhance” its ability to offer financial products and services to its nearly 70 million Russian customers.
MTS is buying the stake from Sistema, the largest diversified public financial corporation in Russia and the CIS and also the majority shareholder of MTS and MTS Bank.
MTS said the deal, which is subject to the usual competition hurdles, should complete in early 2013.
“MTS is extending its brand in financial services as an area complementary to its core business to take advantage of forecasted double-digit growth in the market for financial products and services in Russia, which remains one of the largest ‘unbanked’ markets in the world,” said MTS president and CEO Andrei Dubovskov.
“The addition of financial products and services enable us to better monetise our asset base, including our telecommunications networks, our customer base in Russia and an extensive mobile retail network of over 4,200 stores.
“Deeper cooperation with MTS Bank allows MTS to stimulate sales of smartphones in the retail network, increase customer loyalty and reduce churn through joint bonus programs with the bank.
“At the same time, we can further enhance our capabilities to develop mobile payments and mobile commerce platforms.”
Last year, MTS unveiled it MTS Money project aimed at providing customers with payment tools, including credit cards, near-field communications-enabled SIM cards and PoS (point-of-sale) credit.
MTS said it has reached a deal with MTS Bank that would see the operator realise 70 percent of the proceeds from the project as a result of this new deal.
“Overall, by 2017, we expect financial products to contribute no less than 5% of our group net income,” added Dubovskov.