Telenor Announces Sale of Pakistan Telecom Unit to State Group for $490 Million1 min read

Norwegian telecom giant Telenor has announced the sale of its Pakistan division to Pakistan Telecommunications, a state-owned entity, in a deal valued at approximately $490 million (5.3 billion Norwegian crowns).

Telenor Pakistan, with a history of 18 years in the region and boasting 45 million customers, has been a significant part of Telenor’s Asian operations.

Telenor retains significant interests in Asia, holding stakes in Bangladesh’s Grameenphone, Malaysia’s CelcomDigi, and Thailand’s True Corp, with their combined customer base nearing 160 million.

The decision to sell comes as part of Telenor’s broader strategy to restructure its business in Asia. The company had previously indicated its intention to find a resolution for its Pakistan operations by the end of the year. This sale marks a significant shift in their business strategy in the region.

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Following the announcement, shares of Pakistan Telecommunications surged by 8.3% as of 0645 GMT, which is 12:45 pm in Bangladesh. Trading for Telenor begins at 0800 GMT.

In the first nine months, Telenor Pakistan contributed significantly to the group’s financials, with service revenues of 2.6 billion Norwegian crowns ($240 million) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) of 1.4 billion crowns.

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The completion of this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, with the expectation to finalize the deal within 2024. Telenor anticipates that this sale will not have a major impact on its financial performance for the year 2023.

Post-sale, Telenor’s Asian portfolio will include investments in Grameenphone in Bangladesh, CelcomDigi in Malaysia, and True Corp in Thailand, collectively serving nearly 160 million customers. Petter-Boerre Furberg, the head of Telenor’s operations in the region, emphasized the company’s commitment to remaining an active owner in these market-leading businesses.

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