Telia Company reduced its share in Russian operator MegaFon from 25 per cent to 19 per cent as part of an ongoing disposal of interests outside of its core markets of the Nordics and Baltics.
The company sold a 6 per cent stake held by subsidiary Sonera Holding to institutional investors for RUB22.5 billion ($389 million) and will use the proceeds to reduce debt.
Following the deal, Telia remains the second largest shareholder in the leading Russian operator, which had 75.6 million connections at end Q2 2017 according to GSMA Intelligence. It is committed not to sell any further shares in MegaFon for 90 days.
In addition to asset disposal, Telia is in the process of reducing overheads in Sweden by cutting its workforce.
“Telia Company is one of the founders of MegaFon and we have since the inception actively contributed to its success of becoming a mobile and digital leader in Russia,” Telia president and CEO Johan Dennelind (pictured) said.
“As we are now focusing on the Nordic and Baltic regions within the framework of our New Generation Telco strategy, it is natural that we reduce our exposure to MegaFon. Even after the sale, Telia Company will remain the second largest shareholder in the company and we will continue our constructive cooperation with the main owner USM Group to create value for all shareholders.”
Telia in September took a $965 million hit to resolve a long-running investigation into its dealings in Uzbekistan.