Swedish telecoms heavyweight TeliaSonera has released a statement declaring that it will exit all seven countries in its ‘Eurasia’ mobile network operating division – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Georgia and Moldova – to sharpen its focus on its Sweden and Europe divisions. The strategic decision follows a troubled period in which the group was affected by investigations into corruption allegations in Eurasian markets, exacerbated by tough macroeconomic conditions and price competition across the Eurasia footprint.
A press release from TeliaSonera this morning reads: ‘TeliaSonera will increase focus on its Regions Europe and Sweden within the strategy of creating the new TeliaSonera. A process has been initiated in order to reduce the presence in Region Eurasia and over time fully leave. TeliaSonera has since 2013 had great focus on taking Eurasia to the next level. Substantial improvements have been made in areas such as corporate governance and sustainability. It is our belief that it is possible to do business in Eurasia … profitable and sustainable – but it is important to enter markets in a correct way … Going forward TeliaSonera will focus on core areas such as connectivity and convergence – while supplementing with new initiatives in areas that complement, and strengthen, the core business in Regions Europe and Sweden. The process to reduce presence in Region Eurasia has started, however, at this stage it is not possible to estimate how long this will take. At the same time the shaping of new TeliaSonera is well under way. Meanwhile, TeliaSonera will continue to operate and develop the Eurasian operations in a sustainable and responsible way.’
TeliaSonera’s CEO Johan Dennelind commented: ‘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 … We realise that this will be a complex task that will take time. 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.’
TeliaSonera’s Chair of the Board, Marie Ehrling, added: ‘The Board of Directors has thoroughly examined what is best for our shareholders, operations, employees and customers. We have initiated a process to reduce TeliaSonera’s presence in Region Eurasia in order to effectively execute on our strategy. It is very positive that TeliaSonera’s focused work to improve sustainability has enabled the next step in the reshaping of TeliaSonera.’