Malaysia’s Axiata Group has signed a conditional sale and purchase agreement with TeliaSonera to acquire the Swedish firm’s 80% interest in Nepal’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Ncell. Axiata is to pay USD1.365 billion for the interest via its wholly owned subsidiary Axiata Investments (UK) Ltd. TeliaSonera announced in September this year that it was looking to exit all seven countries in its ‘Eurasia’ mobile network operating division – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Georgia and Moldova – to sharpen its focus on its operations in Sweden and Europe.
Axiata Group’s chairman, Tan Sri Azman Hj. Mokhtar, commented: ‘Axiata has over the years established a good track record in its M&As, delivering and implementing value-enhancing deals. The board has reviewed this transaction in some detail and believes it to be a rare opportunity to own and control a sizeable enough asset that is a value-accretive transaction with attractive cash yields. The board is confident that Ncell will bring significant positive financial impact to the Group.’ The deal is subject to Axiata shareholder approval.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Ncell is Nepal’s largest mobile operator, with 13.01 million customers as of mid-September, ahead of government-backed Nepal Telecom with 12.45 million and limited mobility operator Smart Telecom with 1.34 million.