STOCKHOLM -- TeliaSonera has agreed to sell its 60.4 percent ownership in the Nepalese operator Ncell to Axiata, one of Asia’s largest telecommunication groups, for USD 1,030 million on a cash and debt free basis. At the same time, TeliaSonera will dissolve its economic interests in the 20 percent local ownership and receives approximately USD 48 million. The transactions are conditional on each other.
“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. 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,” says Johan Dennelind, TeliaSonera’s President and CEO.
Axiata has more than 260 million customers and 25,000 employees. Ncell will complement its portfolio of Asian telecommunications assets, which includes operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Singapore and Pakistan. Axiata, which is listed on the Malaysian stock exchange, is a reputable company with a strong focus and expertise in South Asia and is also a long-term investor contributing to development and advancements of the countries it operates in.
The divestment comprises of two transactions which are conditional on each other.
TeliaSonera divests its direct ownership of 60.4 percent to Axiata for USD 1,030 million on an cash and debt free basis, corresponding to an EV/EBITDA multiple of 5.0 times based on rolling twelve months. Ncell had a net cash position of approximately USD 284 million, after purchase price adjustments, as of September 30, 2015, and TeliaSonera will be paid for the cash position at closing in proportion to its economic interest of 80.4 percent.
Over and above 60.4 percent, TeliaSonera consolidates a further 20 percent in Ncell, an ownership which is today held locally by Mr. Niraj Shrestha. According to current Nepalese regulation, 20 percent of the ownership in a company is required to be held locally by a Nepalese citizen. All arrangements between TeliaSonera and Mr. Niraj Shrestha, which were entered into in 2012, will lapse in conjunction with closing.