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Tcell stake sale gets green light as Telia revises Uzbek fine expectations

Tcell stake sale gets green light as Telia revises Uzbek fine expectations

Telia has succeeded in divesting its 60% stake in the parent company of Tajikistan’s Tcell.

As part of its broader strategy of exiting the Eurasia region, the Nordic operator struck a deal in September 2016 to sell its holding in Central Asian Telecommunications Development, with the Aga Khan Fund for economic Development (AKFED) agreeing to acquire the stake. However, this agreement expired earlier this month after the Tajik anti-monopoly service missed the deadline to grant its approval for the deal.

Now, Telia has signed a new agreement, with AKFED acquiring the stake for $27.7 million. Given Telia’s dispute with Tajik authorities over a tax claim related to Telia’s revenues, the Nordic operator group has stressed that the sale transfers all tax liabilities to Tcell and its shareholder. It has also emphasised that it has cooperated with consultants to carry out all requisite background checks and due diligence related to the buyer.

The sale has allowed Telia to wind down its estimations for the fine it will receive over its business in Uzbekistan – a scandal which forms the background of its decision to pull out of Eurasia. Its dealings in the country are currently under investigation by Dutch, Swedish and US authorities, and Telia has stated that it now expects the settlement to be in the region of $1 billion, rather than the initially expected $1.45 billion.