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Veon sells Beeline Georgia for $45m to local businessman

Kaan Terzioğlu on Veon background.jpg

Veon has sold its operations in the eastern European nation of Georgia to its former local partner for just US$45 million.

The buyer is Khvicha Makatsaria, a Georgian businessman and a former minority shareholder in Beeline Georgia: Beeline is the brand Veon uses in several of its operations.

Veon group CEO Kaan Terzioğlu (pictured) said: “After a period of ongoing negotiations, we have successfully concluded an agreement for the sale of our operating subsidiary in Georgia to our former local partner. This transaction is another step towards streamlining our group operations.”

The group’s main business is in Russia, which provided 52% of revenue last year, before Russia began its war on Ukraine. The second business market is Ukraine itself, providing another 13% of revenue in 2021.

Terzioğlu added: “Beeline Georgia is a leader in terms of 4G penetration and digital services, thanks to its successful execution of Veon’s digital operator strategy.”

Georgia’s Communications Commission approved the sale, according to Caucasus Business Week, which said the regulator decided the acquisition of the company “will not affect the competition in the electronic communications market and the transaction is compatible with the competitive environment in the electronic communications market”.

Terzioğlu said: “Company management and the new Georgian shareholder are committed to continue developing the success of the company and to support the digital transformation of the country.”

According to local sources, Makatsaria is a shareholder of Caucasus Online, and owns a controlling stake in Tbilisi Energy. Two years ago his Best Energy Group bought a 24.5%-stake in Telasi, a Georgian electricity distributor.

The other telecoms operators in Georgia are Geocell, bought four years ago by Silknet from Telia and Turkcell for $153 million, and MagtiCom, which is US owned. There are also other operators in those parts of Georgia illegally occupied by Russia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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