Telenor has entered into an agreement to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to PPF Group for EUR 2.8 billion on an enterprise value basis.
Telenor’s operations in the region of Central and Eastern Europe have a share of NOK 11.8 billion (EUR 1.24 billion), or 9.0% of total Telenor Group revenues, with more than nine million users and 3,500 employees.
“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,” says Sigve Brekke, Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Group.
PPF Group is the largest private investment group in CEE with approximately EUR 35 billion of assets under its control. PPF Group invests in various sectors, including banking, consumer finance, real estate, mining and telecommunications. Previous transaction experience includes the acquisition of O2 Czech Republic from Telefonica in 2013 and Nova Broadcasting Group in Bulgaria in 2018.
“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,” said Ladislav Bartonícek, PPF Group’s shareholder responsible for telecommunications assets within PPF.
Ingeborg Ofsthus, General Manager of Telenor Serbia, says that, after 11 years of operations in Serbia, the company is entering a new phase of operations, following the sale of Telenor’s companies in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia to the PPF Group.
“We are proud of everything we have achieved so far, and especially of the fact that we are the market leader with 3 million users across Serbia. PPF Group has a clear goal in terms of development of telecommunication portfolios, and Telenor’s business in the region of Central and Eastern Europe is crucial for its realization. The transaction will not affect our users and local partners, and we are continuing to work as before, dedicated to providing consistent and quality services to our customers”, she added.
Ljajić: Good signal for foreign investors
Serbian Trade Minister, Rasim Ljajic said today that the arrival of a large investment fund such as PPF in Serbia, which will take over Telenor, shows that Serbia is an attractive destination. Ljajic told reporters that that was a good signal for foreign investors, and that PPF would provide new investments.
“I do not expect drastic changes when it comes to employees (in Telenor). I do not believe there will be any dismissals there, but I am sure there will be new investments,” Ljajic told reporters.
Telenor has had mobile operations in the CEE region for 25 years. Telenor entered the Hungarian market in 1994 through the acquisition of Pannon and later expanded its presence in the region through launch of mobile services in Montenegro in 1996 and the acquisition of Mobi 063 in Serbia in 2006. Finally, Telenor acquired Globul in Bulgaria in 2013.
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