TeliaSonera has reportedly acquired, albeit indirectly, 51% of the shares in Cypriot holding company Airbell Services, which itself owns a 50% stake in Nepali mobile operator Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST) – owner of the Hello Mobile brand. The development is reportedly cited in TeliaSonera’s 2011 Annual Report, as part of its plan to strengthen its position in Nepal, but according to The Himalayan News Service, the transaction is a surprise to the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) and the company registrar’s office, neither of which have been notified. Commenting on the share transfer, a spokesperson for the NTA, Kailash Prasad Neupane, confirmed: ‘We have not received any official information of the share transfer so far.’
Under local law, any company wishing to transfer a stake in a company is required to apply to the Office of the Company Registrar for approval, in case there are any tax liabilities involved. At the very least, NST should have notified the NTA of the transaction, it added.