Jan 27, 2017
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Telia CEO “confident” of offloading Eurasian assets in 2017

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Telia Company CEO Johan Dennelind said he was "confident"
the Swedish firm will sell off its remaining Eurasian assets in
2017 after failing to find a buyer for the bulk of its business
there last year.

Telia has been looking to offload assets beyond its core
European business, last year marking its Eurasia operation as a
discontinued line.

In September, it reached an agreement to sell its 60% stake
in Tcell’s parent company, but this is currently
tied up in a tax dispute with Tajikistan’s
authorities.

Speaking following Telia Company’s latest
financial results, Dennelind said he was confident it would
offload the assets this year, but said the timeframe was
difficult to predict.

"I also want to direct a special thank you to our employees
in Eurasia for keeping focus and turning trends during
exceptionally difficult environments and circumstances," he
said.

"When it comes to the disposal of Fintur Holdings, we have
seen an increased interest in our assets following the decision
to explore a joint divestment of Fintur Holdings together with
Turkcell. We see it as highly probable that the Eurasian assets
will be disposed during 2017. As we already explained last
quarter, the timing of the sale of Ucell asset is the most
difficult to predict.

"We continue to have a constructive dialogue with the US,
Dutch and Swedish authorities in their respective
investigations and have an active dialogue regarding the
proposed settlement of $1.45 billion, recorded in our books
in quarter three. Our ambition is to close this in a
responsible way and in the best interest of our
shareholders."

Ucell is Telia’s Uzbekistani arm that was
caught up in a poltical and legal scandal due to how it entered
the market.

The Uzbekistan scandal dates back to what was then
TeliaSonera’s acquisition of Uzbekistan operator
Coscom – later rebranded as Ucell – in July
2007. TeliaSonera "did not conduct a sufficiently in-depth
analysis into the identity of our local partner in Uzbekistan
before we invested in the country or into how this partner came
to own the assets that were later obtained by TeliaSonera",
said then

CEO Lars Nyberg in his 2013 resignation statement.

In its fourth-quarter results, Telia Company posted net sales
of SEK 21 billion ($2.3 billion), down 6.7% on Q4 2015.
EBITDA declined 2.7% to SEK 6.3 billion ($712 million).Read on: GlobalTelecomsBusiness

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