Telenor Group began assessing potential buyers for its majority stake in Pakistan financial services venture Telenor Microfinance Bank, with local provider MCB Bank among those in the frame.

The operator currently holds a 55 per cent stake in Telenor Microfinance Bank, with the remainder owned by China-based financial services giant Ant Group following a deal in 2018.

In a statement, Telenor noted it was considering options for the unit following a regular review of assets. It added although there was no guarantee a sale would take place, it had started assessing interested parties.

Telenor Microfinance Bank provides a range of banking services including mobile money platform Easypaisa.

During the potential sale process, Telenor said the bank would continue as normal with its mobile operation in the country a “committed partner”.

In a statement, Ant Group Pakistan country manager Derek Hao talked-up the business and pledged to “continue to support the bank during this process as it brings innovative solutions to the market”.

Following Telenor’s announcement, Pakistan-based MCB Bank released a stock market statement explaining it was conducting due diligence on a potential deal for the 55 per cent stake.

Telenor’s move comes a week after it revealed its Asia business units dragged on overall performance during Q3.