A Telia agreement to sell its 60 per cent stake in the parent company of Tajikistan operator Tcell expired after the country’s monopoly authority failed to meet an approval deadline.

The operator group agreed to sell its 60 per cent holding in Central Asian Telecommunications Development, which operates Tcell, to minority shareholder Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). The move was part of a wider plan by Telia to exit the Eurasian region.

In a statement, Telia said the offer had now expired as the country’s Anti-Monopoly Service “did not reply by the stipulated deadline”.

Telia SVP and head of region Eurasia, Emil Nilsson, said: “We have taken all relevant actions in trying to close the deal. The proposed buyer of our interest in Tcell, AKFED, is an established investor in the region with multiple companies in its current portfolio and a long history in Tcell.”

“We are now assessing alternative ownership solutions for Tcell.”

The sale was announced in September 2016 and was originally expected to be completed by the end of last year. In January, Telia revealed the deal had been delayed by an ongoing tax dispute with the country’s authorities, and it was unsure when it would be completed.