(CTN News) – On Thursday, Telenor, a Norwegian telecommunications company, announced that it had reached an agreement to sell its Pakistan unit to Pakistan Telecommunications, a state-owned group.
The transaction values the unit at 5.3 billion Norwegian crowns ($490 million). Telenor has been undergoing a restructuring of its Asian businesses, focusing on building larger units in Thailand and Malaysia through local mergers.
The company had been hoping to find a solution for its Pakistan business by the end of the year, including exploring merger options.
However, when those efforts did not materialize, Decided that selling the unit was the next best alternative. Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke explained that the decision was driven by the inability to establish the desired structure and value for the business.
Telenor Pakistan, which was launched 18 years ago, currently serves 45 million customers.
Following the announcement, Pakistan Telecommunications’ share price increased by 8.3%, while Telenor’s share price rose by 1.1% at 0837 GMT.
Pakistan has made a significant contribution to the group’s financials, generating 2.6 billion crowns in service revenue and 1.4 billion crowns in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in the first nine months.
However, the sale of Pakistan is still pending regulatory approvals and is expected to be finalized in 2024. Telenor assures that this sale will not have a major impact on their financials for 2023.
Apart from Pakistan, the company’s remaining Asian portfolio includes Grameenphone in Bangladesh, CelcomDigi in Malaysia, and True Corp in Thailand, serving a combined customer base of approximately 160 million.
Telenor Asia remains committed to actively owning and operating these market-leading businesses in the region, as stated by Petter-Boerre Furberg, the head of the company’s operations in Asia.