MOSCOW, June 5 (Reuters) - Companies that hope to launch IPOs in the near term are being held back by uncertain markets, the chief executive of Russian mobile phone group MegaFon said, signalling the firm's highly anticipated flotation could be some way off.
Russia's second biggest mobile operator plans to list up to 20 percent on the London stock exchange in a deal that was expected to raise $4 billion during the second half of 2012.
"An IPO is a process that may take place when there are (positive) external factors and internal desire. Today, as you can see, there are no IPOs in the world," MegaFon Chief Executive Ivan Tavrin told reporters at a technology forum on Tuesday.
He said he could not speculate on whether the markets will improve in time for an initial public offering this year.
Delay would add MegaFon to a long list of companies which have postponed share offerings until market conditions improve.
IPOs from companies such as Russia's O1 Properties, motor racing group Formula One and luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds have been put in cold storage in recent months.
Tavrin said last month that MegaFon could issue Eurobonds to refinance debt, adding the timing would depend on when the IPO happens - either this year or in 2013.
Sources have said that MegaFon, controlled by Russia's richest man Alisher Usmanov, has picked Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to lead the IPO. Other banks will also be involved, including Russian's Sberbank. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by John Bowker and David Cowell)