City & Corporate: Russian giant seeks agency

Telecoms MTS looks for support to build on growing recognition in the West.

Russia's biggest telecommunications firm is holding a global pitch in an attempt to boost its profile in the West.

OJSC Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), the largest telecoms group in Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia, is listed in New York and seeking a PR agency to support comms efforts in the US and UK.

The firm was named in the BRANDZ Top 100 Most Powerful Brands global ranking published by the Financial Times and Millward Brown in 2008, and it is understood that the brief centres on building this international recognition.

MTS is looking for an agency to work in the US, UK and Western Europe, with a particular focus on New York and London. A key aspect of the brief will be to help the firm connect with investors, telecoms professionals and opinion formers in these markets who do not have everyday exposure to the brand.

The firm wants to be seen as one of the world's premier emerging markets firms and one of the key international voices in the telecoms sector.

MTS currently uses Ogilvy for international comms.

Fees are thought to be in the region of £300k per year, plus project and deal-related work as it arises.

Analyst relations and dialogue with Western investor communities is seen as central to the brief, meaning the firm is looking for international agencies with a strong financial offering and US footprint.

The brief also encompasses media relations, targeting mainstream US and UK titles, the international business press and trade and key vertical titles.

MTS is also on the hunt for public affairs support, help with online and digital comms, crisis comms, content creation, events and strategic comms.

It is thought the company was seeking proposals until the end of September and is currently undergoing a pitch and shortlisting process.

The successful agency will report to Joshua Tulgan, director, investor relations in Moscow.

MTS boasts more than 103 million subscribers in the six countries in which it operates - Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Belarus.

The company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since July 2000 and in the second quarter of 2010 recorded revenue growth of 17 per cent year-on-year to $2.7bn.

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