- Strategic buyers in the Middle East and Asia are expected to show interest, reported Bloomberg
Telenor ASA, the Norwegian telecommunication giant, is moving ahead with plans to sell its operations in Pakistan, which could fetch about $1 billion, reported Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.
As per the report, the Fornebu-based telecommunications operator is working with Citigroup Inc., and will invite first-round bids for the business later this month, informed people, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Telenor said in July that it would conduct a strategic review of its Pakistan subsidiary after posting a 2.5 billion-krone ($244 million) impairment on operations in the emerging economy, added the report.
Strategic buyers in the Middle East and Asia with existing operations in Pakistan are expected to show interest, according to the people. Deliberations are ongoing and there is no certainty they will result in a transaction, they said.
The Norwegian telco had an improved financial performance in the most recent quarter. As per latest financial results released by Telenor Group for the third quarter ended September 30, 2022, its Pakistan subsidiary grew (in rupee terms) its topline by 11% year-on-year to Rs29.5 billion and its operating profits by 227% year-on-year to Rs18.6 billion.
The Norwegian telecoms operator said third-quarter core earnings came in higher than estimated due to a one-off gain in Pakistan, and also reiterated that it expects its full-year profit to be in line with 2021 levels.
“For the group, high energy prices, especially in Norway, Denmark and Pakistan, continue to be a headwind,” Chief Executive Officer Sigve Brekke said in a statement.
“However, the negative effects are, this quarter, countered by a reversal of SIM tax provision in Pakistan,” he added.