Sweden-based telco expects to pay less to settle Uzbekistan probe.

Telia has managed to push through the sale of Tcell, its Tajikistan unit, albeit for a lower price.

The Sweden-based telco also said it expects to pay less to settle an investigation into its Uzbekistan operation.

Telia agreed back in September to sell its 60% stake in Tcell to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), which already holds the remaining 40%, for $39 million (€34.7 million).

However, the deal lapsed earlier this month after Tajikistan’s Anti-Monopoly Commission missed a deadline to decide whether to approve the transaction.

On Wednesday, Telia announced that the deal with AKFED has now gone ahead, except that the deal now values its 60% stake in Tcell at $27.7 million.

"We are very grateful for the hard and dedicated work that Tcell’s employees have contributed with and we wish them the best of luck with the new majority owner. AKFED is an established investor in the region and is in the best possible position to develop Tcell further," said Telia CEO Johan Dennelind, in a statement.

Also on Wednesday, Telia announced that it expects to pay $1 billion to settle an investigation by U.S. and Dutch authorities into its activities in Uzbekistan, lower than the $1.4 billion it was initially expecting to pay.

Telia has been under investigation since March 2014 over bribery allegations stemming from its entry into Uzbekistan in 2007. The company acquired its 3G licence there through Takilant, a Gibraltar-based company associated with Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the late Islam Karimov, president of Uzbekistan.

Rumours of wrongdoing started doing the rounds in 2012, leading eventually to the resignation in early 2013 of then-CEO Lars Nyberg.

"We have made progress and as a result of our discussions and in light of recent developments to date, we have adjusted our estimate of the most likely outcome and we are therefore changing our provision to reflect the best estimate," said Jonas Bengtsson, group general counsel at Telia.

The announcements were made the same day as Telia published its first quarter financials.

The company’s revenue in reported currency fell 5.6% year-on-year to 19.25 billion kronor (€2.01 billion). Service revenue in local currencies was up 1.4%.

"This was mainly driven by mobile revenue growth in all our markets," said Dennelind.

EBITDA fell to SEK6.15 billion from SEK6.22 billion, while net income attributable to shareholders jumped to SEK6.98 billion from SEK3.77 billion, thanks to the aforementioned adjustment to the expected Uzbekistan settlement.