The Russian economy has been booming lately. Consider the telecommunications company Golden Telecom (Nasdaq: GLDN), whose shares have more than doubled this year.
Golden began transforming its business in late 2005 to focus on its larger goals of becoming the AT&T of Russia, providing high-speed broadband and integrated communications services for businesses and consumers. This includes fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) installations for high-rises, DSL broadband, and even deploying wireless Wi-Fi networks outdoors and in retail areas.
The increased focus has been paying off, with the company growing revenue 28 percent and net income 12 percent in fiscal 2006. Its third quarter featured a 53 percent jump in revenue and a 25 percent spike in operating income, bolstered by the doubling of consumer Internet revenue.
With a $4 billion market cap, Golden is still small. It sports fewer than 400,000 broadband subscribers, compared with 8 million for Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc.'s 13.8 million. The company sees this as 8 percent of the total broadband market in Russia, so there is plenty of room for continued growth.
Its tremendous potential has long kept Golden at the center of takeover talk. The stock is not cheap, but with significant growth opportunities ahead, investors may want to keep this emerging Russian play on their investing map.