Telenor will sell its wholly owned mobile business operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia for €2.8 billion (£2.45 billion)

Norwegian operator Telenor has agreed to sell off its assets in Central and Eastern Europe, as it looks to realign its focus to more lucrative markets in Asia. The assets will be purchased by the PPF Group. 

“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.

Upon completion of the deal, Telenor’s board of directors will pay a special dividend of NOK 4.40 (£0.39) per share to its shareholders. Including the proposed ordinary dividend of NOK 8.10 per share for 2017, the total proposed pay-out to shareholders in 2018 will be approximately NOK 19 billion (£1.7 billion).

“Our proposed use of proceeds balances our aim to deliver attractive shareholder remuneration, while preserving strategic flexibility. The special dividend will come on top of an all-time-high ordinary dividend and the recently executed buyback programme. We are currently focusing on developing our existing assets and driving digital transformation. In the coming years, we believe there will be value accretive opportunities within our core business areas and geographies,’’ says Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, chief financial officer of Telenor Group. “We are pleased with today’s transaction, not least because of PPF’s commitment to a professional transaction process.”