TeliaSonera sells Ncell stake to Axiata
TeliaSonera has agreed to sell its 60.4% stake in Nepalese operator Ncell to Malaysian mobile player Axiata for $1.03 billion.
The Swedish telco is also preparing to dissolve its Nepalese ownership for a further $48 million and the sale forms part of TeliaSonera’s broader strategy to exit the Eurasia region.
“In September we announced our ambition to reduce our presence in our seven Eurasian markets and focus on our operations in the Nordics and Baltics, within the strategy of creating the new TeliaSonera,” said Johan Dennelind, president and CEO at TeliaSonera.
“Today, I am very pleased to announce a first step and proof point in this reshaping of TeliaSonera. I am also glad to see Axiata as a new owner. That gives me comfort that our dedicated employees are in good hands when taking Ncell to the next level.”
Axiata has more than 260 million customers and 25,000 employees, and the acquisition of Ncell will complement its portfolio of Asian telecoms assets including those in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Singapore and Pakistan.
Parent company Visor Group will also sell its 19.6% stake in Ncell to Axiata and the divestment, including all transactions, is expected to result in a positive net cash effect for TeliaSonera, corresponding to approximately SEK 7.5 billion (approximately $876 million).
In a statement, TeliaSonera said that the proceeds would primarily be used for debt reduction in line with TeliaSonera’s ambition to keep a solid investment grade credit rating of A- to BBB+.