Telia agreed to sell its stake in Tajikistan operator Tcell, as part of wider plans to exit the Eurasia region.
Telia said in a statement it had struck a deal with the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) to sell its 60 per cent holding in Central Asian Telecommunications Development, which controls Tcell, for $39 million.
The price, it said, was based on an enterprise value of $66 million for the business.
AKFED, which invests in the private sector of developing economies, already owns the remaining 40 per cent stake in Central Asian Telecommunications Development.
For Telia, the sale is in line with its ambitions to reduce its presence and eventually exit from seven markets in the Eurasia region, a plan which it announced a year ago. This forms part of a change in strategy to increase focus on operations in the Nordics and Baltics.
Its stake in Nepalese operator Ncell was the first to go, which it sold to Malaysia’s Axiata at the end of last year.
“AKFED has been a significant shareholder in Tcell since inception, and I am convinced they will be able to further develop the company,” said Johan Dennelind, Telia’s president and CEO.
While Telia has consistently positioned the exit in Eurasia as a change in strategy, it is hard to ignore the controversy it has faced in parts of the region, with Uzbekistan a particular sticking point.
After the sale in Tajikistan completes, which is subject to regulatory approval, Telia will still hold a majority stake in Ucell in Uzbekistan, where it has faced corruption allegations.
It will also hold a presence in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova through its stake in Fintur Holdings, which it co-owns with Turkcell.
The Turkish operator made an offer for Telia’s stake in the holding company in March.