Telenor sells CEE assets
March 21, 2018 15.18 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul
Telenor has agreed to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe to PPF Group for €2.8 billion on an enterprise value basis.
The transaction includes Telenor’s wholly-owned mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as the technology service provider Telenor Common Operation. It is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed with Q3 2018.
The parties have agreed on a deferred purchase price, where €400 million of the proceeds will be paid in four instalments over four years.
Commenting on the sale, Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group, said: “Telenor Group’s strategy is based on growth, efficiency and simplification. With the sale of our CEE assets, we take an important step in simplifying and focusing Telenor’s portfolio on the regions where we see the strongest potential for value creation. Following this transaction, Telenor’s footprint will consist of integrated fixed and mobile operations in Scandinavia, and strong mobile positions in Asia. Telenor is confident that PPF Group’s experience in both the region and sector will make it a good owner of the CEE assets”.
Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, CFO of Telenor Group, added: “Our proposed use of proceeds balances our aim to deliver attractive shareholder remuneration, while preserving strategic flexibility. The special dividend will come on top of an all-time-high ordinary dividend and the recently executed buyback programme. We are currently focusing on developing our existing assets and driving digital transformation. In the coming years, we believe there will be value accretive opportunities within our core business areas and geographies.
“We are pleased with today’s transaction, not least because of PPF’s commitment to a professional transaction process.”
PPF Group is the largest private investment group in the CEE region. Its assets include the Czech incumbent O2 and Bulgaria’s Nova Broadcasting Group, the latter which it acquired earlier this year.
Ladislav Bartonicek, its shareholder responsible for telecommunications assets within PPF, said: “With this purchase, PPF Group is expanding its telecommunications portfolio to four more countries, and fulfilling our long-held goal to become a mid-sized European operator and to use our experience to strengthen our market position”.