TeliaSonera to exit Eurasia region

23 Sep 2015

Operator group TeliaSonera has revealed plans to pull out of the Eurasia region as it focuses on achieving growth in Europe and its home market of Sweden.

The announcement comes in the wake of corruption allegations related to the way TeliaSonera entered several of the markets, including Uzbekistan.

The company plans to reduce its presence in Eurasia over time and eventually exit the market entirely. The move will mean exiting the markets of Nepal, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Tajikistan.

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Comments from TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind suggest that the company will be pursuing a sale of its operations in the region.

“Thanks to two years of hard work to improve the Eurasian operations, not least from a corporate governance and sustainability perspective, we now have better and more well-managed companies which we believe others can successfully develop further,” he said.

The operator has been working since 2013 to improve its corporate governance and sustainability practices for the region, in the wake of a corruption scandal in Uzbekistan which saw the company accused of resorting to bribery to enter the market.

TeliaSonera has denied engaging in corruption but acknowledged that proper processes and good corporate governance were not always followed in Uzbekistan.

Dennelind said it will take some time to exit Eurasia altogether. “We are conducting this process market by market as each country and operation has its unique situation, but the ambition is to eventually leave the entire region,” he said.

Going forward the company plans to concentrate its growth ambitions on Europe and particularly Sweden, focusing on core business areas such as connectivity and convergence.

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