CME's partner in Ukraine, Alexander Rodnyansky lost the 1st instance court with Igor Kolomoiski in claiming 70% interest in Studio 1+1, currently held by Mr. Rodnyansky. Note that CME holds 60% stake in Innova/Intermedia, which holds a 30% stake in Studio 1+1. Hence CME's indirect ownership in Studio 1+1 is 18%. Based on an agreement with Mr. Rodnyansky from December 30, 2004, CME is entitled to 60% interest in Studio 1+1 (and distribution to shareholders). The structure reflects the Ukrainian law prohibiting foreign companies holding majority stake in local station. Mr. Rodnyansky has been acting as a custodian to CME as CME has a call option for the reaming stake in Studio 1+1 once the local law changes. CME will pay no additional money to Mr. Rodnyansky nor anybody else once the Ukrainian law changes and CME receives the full 60% stake in Studio 1+1.
According to CME, Mr. Kolomoiski metnioned that even if he succeeds he would follow contractual agreements with CME and acknowledged CME's 60% interest in Studio 1+1. Mr. Kolomoiski may even publicly acknowledge CME's 60% interest in Studio 1+1 in the near future. According to CME, the current situation and any outcome of the lawsuit should not have any impact on CME's Ukrainian operations not its 15-hours license approval as the company has been given early approval by the Government for license extension beyond 2006.
We believe that CME is fair to us in providing us the details and impact of the rulings in Ukraine on its operations. Obviously, the current situation raises the risk of CME’s Ukrainian operations, in particular as the local TV ad market is highly attractive and is expected to growth from the current USD3m to UDS1bn by 2010. In the meantime we keep our Buy recommendation unchanged.