Axiata to buy 80% of Nepal's Ncell

22 Dec 2015

Malaysia's Axiata Group has revealed plans to expand its presence in Asia with the $1.36 billion purchase of an 80% stake in Nepalese mobile operator Ncell.

Sweden-based TeliaSonera has arranged to sell its stake in Reynolds Holdings to Axiata Group for $1.03 billion, Axiata announced.

Axiata is also paying $335 million for SEA Telecom's interest in the holding company, which owns an 80% stake in Ncell. The transactions are expected to be complete in the first half of next year.

With the acquisition Axiata will have subsidiaries or investments in operators in nine Asian markets - Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Singapore, Pakistan and Nepal.

TeliaSonera plans to use the proceeds to reduce debt. The divestment is in line with the operator's plans to focus more closely on European markets.

The operator is also seeking to exit the Asian region due to legal scrutiny over the way it bought phone licenses in Uzbekistan in 2007. While the company has maintained it broke no laws, the company is facing legal probes in Sweden, the Netherlands and the US over the issue.

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