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Russia's MTS: 'Too early' to call impact of crisis

The chief financial officer of Russia's largest telecoms company by revenue, MTS, said it is "too early" to judge the impact of the Ukraine crisis on its business.

Alexey Kornya, CFO of MTS – which also one of Ukraine's largest wireless telecoms providers - said the unrest had created a short-term "risk-off" environment, but no fundamental change.

Hopes of a resolution to the crisis were dashed last week when Ukraine declared an end to the so-called Easter truce. Fresh sanctions by both the U.S. and European Union against Russia could be announced as early as Monday, according to Reuters.

"It's too early, yet, to say what would be the impact of the Ukrainian situation on our business," Kornya told CNBC.

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A guard stands outside a building held by pro-Russian separatists in Slovyansk, Ukraine
Alex Usenko | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A guard stands outside a building held by pro-Russian separatists in Slovyansk, Ukraine

Last month, the company announced that it was not adjusting its forecasts despite the escalating conflict in the region. But it acknowledged that "significant macroeconomic uncertainty and volatility" could see MTS revisit its guidance.

"In the first quarter, we see no significant impact because we think the biggest impact will be coming from the hryvnia (the Ukrainian currency) devaluation," Kornya said.

"So we'll have to see how things develop later though the year."

Since the beginning of the year, Ukraine's currency has floundered, in spite of its central bank hiking interest rates. The dollar has risen around 38 percent against the Ukrainian hryvnia year-to-date.

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The crisis has also taken its toll on Russia's markets, with Russia's MICEX index down around 14.5 percent year-to-date and the dollar gaining 9.5 percent against the rouble over the same period.

But Kornya insisted that the crisis was not forefront in investors' minds, with most concerned about trends in the telecommunications industry.

"Everyone is asking about industrial trends, which is migration from voice to data…. Everyone is trying to understand how its penetration will develop, how data develops," he said.

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Kornya added that investors were interested in how the company was planning to deal with the macro-economic outlook.

"These are two main questions. And then Ukraine comes third or even (later) because it is only 10 percent of our business, and even that big devaluation of the hryvnia will have some impact, of course, on our business but again that's within this 10 percent," he said.

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